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•■ 1 

/ , 




Copyright. 1917 


The Journal FrintiiiK Co 





CopyriKht. 1917 


The Journal Printing Co. 


mta MAaHOLiA bokd. 










A Crop of Artichokei "^^ 

An Offer of Wages l;J:> 

A Deal in Peas 151 

Application 37!> 

Birth of Scott Bond 17 

Bond and Pitzpatrick Buy /i.le.i F.irm 4I> 

Buys His Pirst Farm 7:i 

Brick for Allen Parm l»-i 

Buys Back Old Home 97 

Buys Half Section Vl'l 

Bear Story \?^': 

Brick • YX\ 

Build Gin at Madison 220 

Bad Crops 23:! 

Builds Saw Mill 32-1 

Cash Rent 6.") 

Conditions Changing 37;") 

Deer Por Dinner 3(^ 

Edmondson Gin 312 

Pirst Merchandising . . 57 

Finding Money 23 1 

Forgets His Wife 26n 

Frog Parm 32;? 

Floods and Cutworms 331 

Gravel Beds 263 

Gravel Loading 284 

Gloomy Times Ahead 333 

How I Learned to Make Brick 171 

Handling Cottonseed with Different Oil Mills 23H 

High Cost of Living 25:j 




In a Jim-Crow Car -<)"> 

Latent Forces - • -^^-^ 

Learning a Yankee Tncli: -<' i 

Mother Dies :^:1 

Mr.kinc: a Slip O:.]) 'J!» 

Madison Cenic: •►07 

Mother -•')T 

Ne*iTo Deals with Nearoe^ •I''>:' 

Otto B. RoUwas^e -•*»'• 

C vercomes Objection- •> 1 ■". 

i-ays FirU Rent v/ith Money <>'» 

i^r.. terson, the Great Bear Hunter K^-' 

Renting an Ax I 'n 

Ravenden Spring.^ '.'.';: 

Race with the ILtorlc J]*J 

Race Prejudice in America an Economic Loss o72 

.Starting Negro Schc-:! 2.") 

•Sitting on a Snake 'V'\ 

Scott Bond Moves to M ui'zo^: :17 

Sv/aps Pish for Mciit !» » 

oale of Allen Farm 77 

Shows Sons Nev/ Store "J'>- 

Settling a Strike ] ">.: 

Haves' Method of Communication !!).» 

ocott Bond Finds Pot of Money Jl .7 

^cott Bond's Wife Finds Can of Wealth '217 

Scott Bond Builds Concrete Store 2:54 

Starts Housekeeping 1 74 

Summary :»,S2 

Theophilus Bond Learns to Fire KiJ 

The Diiference 1 ()7 

Taylor Swift Goes to Africa jOt; 

Trip to Kansas City 24'3 

Visits New York 352 

Visits New Orleans :J61 

Visits Roger Williams University ]^<^ 

Workiiig for Nothing 134 

Wby Scott Bond Hob Been SnccesBfal 200 

What the Negro Farmer le Doing 374 


Flood in the mssissippi River lU 

Gives an idea of that mighty stream, when on a rampage. 

Sheep and Cattle 23 

This is a daily scene at the Bond home at the morning 
milking hour. 

Scene on Gray Farm 27 

A great field of cotton that has just been worked out the 
first time. 

Scott Bond's Sheep at Home 31 

The sheep have returned from pasture and are waiting 
admission to the bam yard. 

Cattle After Dipping 35 

Getting readj' for the holl-weevil. 

"The Cedars" 39 

Scott Bond at home with wife and children. 

Scott Bond's Birthplace 43 

Cabin in Mississippi, where Scott Bond was born. 

Spring Creek M. B. Church 47 

An historic landmark on Crowley's Ridge. 

Scott Bond Landing Logs at His Saw Blill 51 

He turned his timber into money instead of deadening it 
to rot on the ground. 

Mr. Bond and Mr. Bridgeforth 55 

Discussing hogs in the Mulberry orchard at Tuskegee 

Comer of Bed-room in the Bond Home 59 

Showing fireplace where can, supposed to contain $500 
in gold, was found. 

Scott fiond Gin 63 

Showing platform filled with cotton ready for shipping. 



Wheat Stacked on Side of Field <iV 

Diversification: laud bciiiij Di'cjjariMl fur pra^. 

View of Stevens Farm T 1 

This scene sho^vs a great tirhl <»!' rorii aiul mtn.ii in cai-li- 
est staj:jes ot* cultivatioii. 

Near View of Fruit Farm 7') 

Tlierc are 5,U0U fruit tr<'r'> in ilu-^ orrliai'd. Nnnu' more 



Laying by Com with Cultivators 

Til is fiidd vas used lor silaizr ]!)17. 
Bird's-Eye View of Madison > '» 

From "The Cedars'" one can see for miles up and .lown 
the St. Francis River, that threads it- way. like a silver 
riV)boii, past Madison. 
View on Fishing Lake Farm 

One of tJie linesi iisliin«»' spois in Ark;ins:is. 

Bird's-Eye View of Fruit Farm ^n 

View of Section 12 on Military Road !).") 

Mr. Bond and Mr. Brictgeforth !M> 

<>n the Tnsketree breeding* J'aiMii. 
.>Ir. Bond and Mr. Bridgeforth in:) 

in Tnskegee Orehard. 
Mr. Bond and Mr. Bridgeforth li)7 

On Tnskejree truck farm. 

Mr. Bond Visits the Tuskegee Poultry Yard Ill 

Mr. Bridgeforth and Mr. Bond Ill 

Discuss Tusk.'<!'ee's pi'ize jat'k. 
Scott Bond's Blacksmith Shop IV) 

It requires the time of this shop to keep np the repairs 
of tools on Mr. Bond's many farms. 
Scott Bond Making a Start in Life 1J:1 

''Started to lay the foundation of his career at tlie ajye 
of 22 with a bod quilt and a clean character.'' 
Miss Chism Milking pj? 

The products of the dairy have done much to aid Scott 
Bond on his way up. 


Scott Bond's Registered Bull, Robert lol 

TJiis call' at eleven iiioiitlis -weighed sr)0 pouii(U, and tliis 
is tlie* Avay Mr. J:>on<l made liini kee[> his hnby fat. 
AnotluM' \\"i\v to (lisconnl llie l)()ll-\\ervil. 


viow on Stevens Farm of 580 Acres on the St. Francis Rive . . V\J 

View of Stevens Farm Looking South ' I'J 

Harvesting Alfalfa UT 

This is anollicr wny Sroit lioml In dis/ininl inir th«' l»i»il- 
wcovil pest. 

IjU Potato Crop Rcncly for Di^.i^in-.- ir):! 

This is still a'.iu.i.v-, \v.\^ to (miscT the elVoris (d tlir hnll- 

Scone on Gray Farm 151) 

, It was at this point that th(^ <dd inilitjiry i'(»ad huili hy 
(Jen. Ja«.d\S(>n cros^cj tlh* St. [''i-am-is Uiv<i. 
E .gineers Surveying ] (ic» 

This ])art (d' tin* nf-aii \r «mvjiii hi'_iliv\n\ nni- l»rt\\«';'n 
Meuii>his and. Litiic Kotdx : pnss«w ludt* i\iy/i'i\ nt Mi- 
l>.)nd's farms. 

D. roc Red, Registered . -"^ 1»5.' 

Mr. l>ond sayN.- "ll 1 <'an l «ii'()\v cotton I can i:i(»\\ |» ti •. 
hoil-A\oevil or no l.ol!-^\ eovil." 

Jorn in Nev^*^ Ground, First Crop ITo 

Not twelve months sin'*(\ this \vas a (!(mj<i' jnn^lr. 

;L cott Bond and His Wife ]1[) 

Discussing a New ll«M-(d*ord eall*. It is tJins tlicy have 
worked throujili mor(^ than foi"t\- \'(\'irs. 

Registered Hereford Bull, ''Robert" i:)') 

Weigliing H'yi) ponnds at rh'vcn' months. 

Unloading Second Cutting ol Altalfa 191 

June 13, 1917. More di\«'rsifu»ation. ]\lorc prr|>aration 
for boll-weevil. 

Hogs Grazing on Alfalfa 1!).") 

By frequently changing from one pasture to another, 
Seott Bond keeps his stock growing w^ithont destroying 
his pastures. 


Interior of Scott Bond's Gin Plant 201 

Capacity, 80 bales per day. Continental system. 

Home of Taylor Swift 207 

This man came back from Africa without a penny. Now 
he is rich. 

Bird's-Eye View of Scott Bond's Gravel Beds 213 

From these beds for which Mr. Bond paid $5.00, he has 
sold more than $75,000 worth of gravel. The supply 
will never be exhausted. Here also is to be found vast 
deposits of marl-embedded oyster shells. 

Fanners at Scott Bond's Gin, 1916 223 

This scene is common every day during the ginning season. 

One of Scott Bond's Cotton Fields, 1917 229 

In 1916, Mr. Bond received from sale of cotton seed 
in this field enough to pay the entire cost of the crop, 
including rent and picking. Mr. Bond charges himself 
rent for his own land as a part of the cost of his crops. 

Scott Bond's Store, Looking North 239 

The usual Saturday crowd doing tJieir weekly trading. 

Scott Bond's Herd of Registered Herefords 245 

This is another of Mr. Bond's methods of preparing for 

Hogs Following Oat Harvest 255 

**If boll-weevil comes, we can still eat hog and hominy." 

Another View from Military Road 261 

Looking South at the old St. Francis River Ferry. This 
road forms the Memphis-Forrest City link of ocean 
to ocean highway. 

Elondyke Farm 270 

On this farm John Harris made money enough in one year 
to pay for twelve head of horses and mules and his 
other debts and clear $1,280. 

Scott Bond's Overhead Cable Excavator 273 

This machine, base 33x40 feet, 75 feet high and moved 
with 3-8 inch cable along the gravel beds, operated by 


five men, loads with ease a ear of gravel every ten 
Scott Bond's Store 287 

35 feet wide, 100 feet long, 2 stories high and 12 foot 
basement, running full length of building, stocked with 
goods from bottom to top. 
Mr. Bond Pointing to Grove at Madison 298 

Where Dr. Washington addressed the assembled thou- 
sands of colored and white people in 1911. 
Farm Bought for Theophilus Bond by His Father 303 

Thco. on turn row instruct iuj? the tenants. 

Colored Cemetery at Madison, Ark 309 

Jack Davis Farm 319 

Planted in cotton in 1917. 
Mr. Bond and Son, Theo., 325 

Planning Bull Frog Farm. Another way to meet the boll- 

Sheep Grazing in Grove 335 

Theophilus Bond 296 

Dr. Booker T. Washington at Madison in 1911 297 

Enjoying Life After Forty Years' Toil 312 

Ulysses S. Bond 313 

Waverly T. Bond 328 

Dan A. Rudd 329 

Scott Bond and Family in Garden at Home 344 

Dr. Washington at Bond Home in 1911 345 

Registered 0. I. C. Hogs 360 

Mrs. Bond and Her Pets 361 

Scott Bond's Office 368 

"Robert," Registered Hereford Bull at 5 Months 369 

Scene Showing Cottonficld in New Ground 376 

Interior of Scott Bond's Store 377 


The Journal Printing Company's plant at Madison, /irk., was 
not large enough to print this book and in order to have the 
work done by Negroes the National Baptist Publishing Board 
at Nashville, Tenn., was awarded the contract for printing and 

How well the work was done is attested by the appearance of 
the book. 

The mai>nitude of the plant of that great concern must be seen 
to be appieciated. With its large batteries of linotype machines, 
presses and cutters, and C(.mplete bindery with all the latest 
mechanical devices it is indeed an establishment for the race to 
be proud of. 

Tuskegee Institute furnished the photographs illustrating 
scenes in Mr. B()nd\< visit to that school. The portraits, as well 
as the photogiai)hs showing some of Mr. Bond's activities and 
farms, were made by Hooks Bros, of Memphis. The engravings 
from these pictures were made by the Bluff City Engraving Co. 
of Memphis. 

The 5reneious courtesy of all these people merits our highest 



I have known Mr. Scott Bond since 1905. He is unassuming 
and progressive and while lacking in what men *!:enerall.y term 
education, I regard him as highly intelligent. To value him at 
his true worth, one must become thoroughly acquainted with 
him; upon such acquaintance, his motives, purposes and aims 
in life become more highly appreciated. By intuition, he is 
naturally a merchant, a conservative trader, and a man who at 
a glance sees the advantages and disadvanta!?es of any proposi- 
tion made to him. 

During the sessions of the National Negro Business League, 
he has been the very spice of all meetings he has attended. Dr. 
Booker T. Washington, founder and lifetime President of this 
League, was always insistent upon his being present at these 
gatherings, because of the life he always threw into their pro- 

His unique and purely Southern method of expression always 
added, not only to the material and interesting side of the 
League's deliberations, but also presented a most exemplary 
phase that increased the inspiration of the many young men who 
have heard him and known of his life and w-ork. 

On the occasion of the League's meeting at Little Rock, Ark., 
in 1911, a special visit was made to his home and place of busi- 
ness at Madison, Aikansas. There we found him surrounded 
by every ccmfoit of liie. d miciled in a beautiful home, presided 
over by a devoted wife and surrounded by a happy family of 
children whose loyalty and devotion to him was made manifest 
by every action and movement. His place of business was per- 
haps the lari^est in Madison, every part of which showed method, 
order and intelligent direction. 




The people of his cpmmunity were unanimous in their praise 
of the manner in which he conducted his business and of his life 
among them as a citizen. At a recent meeting of the National 
Negro Business League, at Chattanooga, Tenn., Mr. Bond was 
really the life of every proposition presented before that body ; 
and while he did not fail to express himself on every question 
that came before the League, he at no time failed to make good 
his point and to impress his views thereon, firmly and intelligent- 

I regard Mr. Bond as one of the most substantial, exemplary 

and really meritorious men produced by our race. 


The world of unrest in these days is but the harbinger of better 
things. This is a crucial period in the history of mankind. What- 
ever may be the efforts of men to force certain unholy conditions, 
history proves that in the end right will triumph over wrong. 
Truth and justice will at last prevail. 

In offering this biography to the public, it is our purpose to show 
some of the many disadvantages that must be overcome by the 
Negro in his way upward. We also want to impress the idea that 
the Negro will be measured by the white man's standard; that he 
must survive or perish when measured by that scale. The Negro 
must '*find a way or make one." His goal must be the highest 
Christian civilization. His character, his moral courage, his thrift 
and his energy must be in excess of the difficulties to be surmounted. 
He must use his own powers to the limit, then depend upon Ood and 
the saving common sense of the American people for his reward 
in years to come. 

To the white friends of the race and to the progressive, earnest 
Negroes of all oar or^untry this book is especially dedicated by the 



SIXTY-FOUR years ago there was bom near Canton, in 
Madison County, Mississippi, a slave child that was 
destined to show the possibilities of every American- 

born child of any race. It was a boj- His mother was 

subject to the unhallowed conditions of that time. That her sun was 
to be numbered among the leadei-s of his generation was not to bo 
thought of; that he should become the largest planter and land 
dwner of his race and state seemed Impossible ; that as a merchant 
and all-round business man, owning and operating the finest and 
one of the largest mercantile establishments in his stale was not 
to be dreamed of; that at the advanced age of 61 he would erect 
and operate successfully the largest excavating plant of its kind in 
Arkansas and one of the only two in the entire southland was beyond 
conception. Yet, these things and many others equally remarkable 
have been accomplished by the little Mississippi-boru slave boy 
whose history these pages recount. 

The illustrations in this book show some of the many successful 
enterprises owned and managed by Scott Bond, and also some in- 
teresting incidents iu his stii! more interesting life. This is the 
story of one, who started to lay the foundations of his career at the 
age of 22, with a bed quilt, a clean character and a manly determi- 
nation to do something and to be somebody. Today he is one of 
the largest land owners, merchants and stock-raisers in Arkansas. 

^f^. Bond credits much of his success to his charming wife, who 
ha.s been his helper and his comforter in all his struggles. We offer 
this as an inspiration to the young men of the race and of all races. 
No race that produces men who can build and operate such works 
as these needs have any fear for the future. 


18 From Slavery to Wealth 

At the age of eighteen months, little Scott, removed with his 
n'Other to Collierville, Fayette County, Tennessee, and at the age 
cf five years removed with his mother and step-father, William 
Bond, to the Bond farm, Cross County, Arkansas. The question 
of ''States' Rights" was uppermost in the mind of the American 
people. Mighty things were to happen that would settle forever 
this vexatious question. The south was drawing farther and farther 
fiom the north. The north was declaring ** union forever." 

Bleeding Kansas! Forensic battles in the Congress of the United 
States ! John Brown's Raid ! Then in April, 1861, the first shot of 
the civil war crashed against the solid granite walls of old Fort 
Sumpter. What has all this to do with some little obscure mulatto 
boy, born on an obscure plantation somewhere down in Dixie! Just 
this: Had these tremendous events not transpired and ended as 
they did, the country would have still kept in bondage a race of 
ijjen who have in fifty years — years of oppression and repression — 
.shown to the world what America was losing. Booker T. Washing- 
ton would not have revolutionized the educational methods of the 
world. Granville T. Woods would not have invented wireless teleg- 
taphy. There would have been no Negro troops to save the rough 
riders on San Juan Hill. There would have been no Negro soldiers 
to pour out their life blood at Carrizal. There would be no black 
American troops to olf er to bare their dusky bosoms in the fiery hell 
beyond the seas today in the might}'- struggle for world democracy. 
Scott Bond would have had no opportunity to prove to the world 
that if a man will be may. 

There were many thinprs in the life of the slave to 
break the monotony of daily, unrequited toil. At no time 
m the history of slavery in America was there more rapid 
change of scenes than during the years of the civil war. It was in 
these years little Scott had his ups and his downs, enjoying as others 
the bitters and the sweets of youthful slave life. As the fratricidal 
strife neared its close, and the dawn of freedom appeared upon the 
horizon, slaveholders were put to their trumps to keep their human 
chattels. When the union soldiers would be nearinp: some big plan- 
lation the slaves were hurriedly secreted in some ont-of-lhe-wav 

life of Scott Bond 21 

place to keep them out of sight until the apparent danger had 
passed. It was an occasion like this in 1865 that the overseer on 
the Bond farm was ordered to hurry the Negroes to a hiding place 
in the swamps. News that the Yankees were coming had spread 
abroad. Teams were hitched to the wagons and some provisions 
for camping were loaded and the Negroes, some seventy-five in 
number, were started for the hidden camp ground. This was grea\ 
fun for these poor people. The overseer had some of the slaves 
make brooms of brush and spoil out the mule and wagon tracks to 
keep the Yankees from following. They were headed for the big 
blue canebrakes on the banks of the bay and Morris pond, a great 
fishing ground, where little Scott joined the others in fishing and 
frolicking. They had not been long at this place before the cry 
was raised, **The Yankees are coming." Soon a troop of union 
C8valr3anen came upon the scene. They ordered the slaves to sur- 
render. A few knew what this meant and threw up their hands. 
The lieutenant in command ordered his troopers to dismount. Then 
aiil fell to fishing, singing, dancing and feasting. Skillets, pots and 
fr3ring pans were called for. Mr. Bond says he never saw men 
eat fried speckled perch as did those soldiers. This was a picnic 
for the slaves. "The only thing," says Mr. Bond, "that threw 
cold water over my pleasure was that my good mother could not be 
with us; she being the house maid had to remain with the mistress 
while all the other slaves were sent to the bottoms." 

"When the dinner of fish was finished, the lieutenant ordered ua 
to gather up our things and load them into the wagons. This was 
done. He got upon a stump and said: ^This war will certainly end 
successfully for the union. Every Negro under the stars and stripes 
will be free.' 

"Right there," says Mr. Bond, "was one of the greatest events 
of my life. Old gray-headed women with children clasped in their 
arms ; old, feeble, decrepid, worn-out men, all shouting — Hallelujah ! 
Hallelujah. The officers stood quiet until the hysterical demonstra- 
tion had subsided.' He then continued: *I am going to take you 
back home to the farm from which you came. Don't leave home 
and run from place to place while the war is going on. Stay at 
home and be good and obedient servants as you have been, until 

22 From Slavery to Wealth 

the war is over/ The drivers mounted their seats, the children 
climbed upon the wagons, the men and women walked behind, the 
soldiers bringing up the rear started back home. When they 
reached the Bond farm, they came as they went through the middle 
of the field down the turn row. I saw things happen up and down 
that turn row, young as I was" says Mr. Bond, ''that I thought 
were very wrong and think so to this day. The hoes and harrows 
lay along the turn row. Some of the Negroes in the crowd took 
axes and broke every one of these farm implements." 

When they reached the great house, Mrs. Bond, the mistress, 
walked out on the front veranda and with her little Scott espied 
his dear mother. The lieutenant introduced himself and said: ''I 
have come to restore to you about fifty head of mules and seventy- 
five colored people. I regret very much to know that you thought 
that we as union men were coming down here to destroy the south. 
I want to congratulate you upon the skill with which you had your 
colored people hidden. It required some skiU to find them but wo 
had more fish to eat than we have had since the war began." 

The madam replied: *'I am so much obliged to you for your kind- 
ness and generosity. I was not indeed looking for union soldiers; 
I was expecting the jayhawkers, that was my reason for sending 
them down there." The soldiers then rode off. 

One of little Scott's duties was to ride behind the madam and 
carry her key basket, for in those days when she would be absent 
from the house she would turn the keys in the locks, then put the 
keys in a basket kept for that purpose. 

"But they change as all things change here, 
Nothing in this world can last." 

* * -^ * * 


Not long after this Seott Bond's mother died leaving him yet a 
little boy with his step-father. They laid her to rest on a beautiful 
spot on the side of a towering hill overlooking the Bond farm. 

Life of Scott Bond 25 



In 1866, a northern gentleman, Mr. Thorn, was renting the 
Bond farm. lie was very kindly disposed toward the colored 
people. He wrote to Memphis for a teaeheir for a colored 
school. The parties to whom he wrote, referred him to Miss 
Celia Winchester. She accepted the school. 

There were no railroads in this part of the country at that 
time. The only method of transportation was from Memphis, by 
steam boat, down the Mississippi and up the St. Francis rivers to 

When the boat arrived at Wittsburg, Mr. Thorn, not knowing 
the customs of the south, secured a room at the hotel for Miss 
Winchester, who was an Oberliu, Ohio, graduate. She had at 
tended school with the whites at that famous seat of learning. 
She too, was ignorant of the customs prevailing in the south. 

When the proprietor of the hotel learned that Miss Winchester 
was colored, he went out and bought a cowhide. He met Mr. 
Thorn on the street, held a pistol on him and cowhided him. 

Mr. Thorn stood and cried. He said that he was seventy year3 
#ld and had never done any one any harm in his life. What he 
had done was not intended as a violation of custom. 

We lived about sixteen miles out from Wittsburg. The next 
day a wagon met Mr. Thorn and Miss Winchester and took them 
to the farm. 

Thus was opened the first school for Negroes in this part of the 
tountry and the first school I had ever seen. In the school my 
step-father and myself were classmates in the ABC class. 

Later on, Mr. Thorn's wife came from the north to visit her 
husband. She opened a night school for those old people who 
could not attend the day school. The hours were from seven to 

It was a curiosity to me to see so many people, some of whom 
were gray-headed, trj-ing to learn to read and write. They 
were enthusiastic and very much in earnest. 

This condition held good for the whole neighborhood. In the 
daytime, the children would gather pine knots to make light at 

26 From Slavery to Wealth 

night. All about the country one could see lights in the homes 
and people trying to learn their lessons. 

Coal oil and electric lights were unknown. The white people, 
in the great house, used candles. The colored people used pine 
knots and little flat iron lamps filled with grease ; and used a rag 
for a wick. 

When the weather grew warm, people would collect pine knots 
and at night they would gather in great crowds in the open, and 
then such singing of A B C's and a-b ab, you never heard. The 
whole colored population seemed to be crazy about education. 

I remember an old lady seventy-eight years old, who was de- 
termined to learn to read, and in less than eight weeks she was 
reading the Bible. I know of another instance Of a Negro, named 
John Davis, who in twelve months after he learned his A B C's, 
was elected Justice of the Peace. He had learned to iread and 
vrrite. He did not know enough to prepare his docket and papers, 
but the kindly disposed white people for whom he worked, would 
fix up his documents for him. He would sign them ** John Davis," 
J. P. These white people were southern born democrats. 

There was a Mr. Brooks, a white democrat, who was John 
Davis' predecessor in office, who would frequently prepare Davis' 
docket and warrants. The docket went regularly before the 
grand jury and was favorably passed upon. * Davis served out his 
term and was eventually married. He lived respected by all who 
knew him. 

It must be remembered that at that time the southern white man 
was largely disfranchised. 

As Mrs. Thorn advanced with her educational work, it was very 
encouraging to sec the good results of her efforts. 

As the season drew to a close, it was common to hear the old 
people spelling at their exercises. When they reached "baker" in 
the old blue back speller, it was b-a ba, k-e-r ker, baker; 1-a la, d-y 
dy, lady ; s-h-a sha, d-y dy, shady ; at the wash tub, over the cook 
pot, in the kitchen, at the mule lot and in the cotton patch, it was 
*' baker," *'lady,'* "shady," from sun-up to sunset, and way into 
the night. 

life of Scott Bond 29 

Had that enthusiasm kept up until to day the Negro would be 
the best educated race in the world. 

What the Negro needs today is more of the eager enthusiasm 
of the years just after the close of the Civil War. From this cup 
wc must quaff deeply and often from the cradle to the ^ave. 

There is no place for drones in human society. The lazy man^ 
the listless man, the passive, happy, go lucky man is a real curse 
to his race. 

•*Up and at them!" is the command that comes ringing down 
the ages. **Up and at" the obstacles that stand athwart the path- 
way of progress. Think ! Work ! Get results ! ! 

If one would study German history of the last fifty years, he 
would find out what it means to be thorough; what results come 
from intense application in developing- human efficiency. 

Yet, after all that is said and done concerning the Negro race 
in America, we must admit that they are a great people. If the 
Negro has plenty, he is happy; if he has nothing, he is happy. He 
can come about as near living on nothing as any other race and 
still be happy. 

This philosophic tendency to be hapi)y under all conditions and 
in all circumstances is characteristic of the race. 

Before the war a Negro's rations consisted of three pounds of 
meat, a peck of meal, and a pint of black molasses; and they lived 
to be one hundred and one hundred and ten years old and would 
still be strong men to the day of their death. 

It was a rare thing before the war, to hear of a Negro having 

He is as proud as a peacock. The jolly good nature of the race 
has been its salvation. In fact, the Negro is the only race that 
can look the white man in the face and live. 

Better still, the white man does not want to get rid of the Negro. 


**I remember," says Mr. Bond, **once when I was quite young, 
one of my tasks was to look afte(r the calves. When the cows 
came up to the cow pen, I would let them in. Then I would drive 

30 From Slavery to Wealth 

the calves half a mile to get them into the lane and back through 
the lane to the cow pen. 

I thought I would make a slip gap. I got some rails and dragged 
them up. I was not big enough to carry the rails, so I would 
move one end ahead, then I would go back and move the other end. 
"When I got ready to put it into place, I would take a rail and by 
prizing, managed to get the rail in. 

The overseer came by one day and asked me who made the slip 
gap. I told him I made it. He had a paddle with a strap on the 
end. He said he was going to whip me for lying to him. I told 
him I had not lied. He said he would like to see me make an- 
other. I then showed him how I managed to make it. 


In the time of the Civil War, the high cost of living was as much 
in evidence as it is today. 

I can remember that when I was a little boy, living on the Bond 
farm on the Bay road in Cross County, Ark., that anything like 
a square meal was a thing of the past. There was neither meat 
nor bread to be had. We had a little wheat that would be 
ground in an old-fashioned corn mill. From this we would make 
mush for breakfast and cush and greens for dinner. 

On one occasion my step-father killed a quail with a clod. My 
mother prepared and cooked the bird with dumplings. It made 
a meal for seven people. 

One morning as we were going to the field we heard the hounds 
in the distance. As the sun rose higher the hounds seemed to be 
getting nearer. About nine o'clock the dogs were running 
around the north end of the farm. This was not unusual, as there 
were plenty of deer and panther in Arkansas, so we paid little 
attention to the houads. To our surprise a big tbuck jumped into 
the field where we were at work. It was about a mile and a half 
to the next fence. Mr. Cook, the overseer, had his horse tied to 
a bush near where the deer jumped into the field. The overseer 
being like the rest of us, half starved, mounted his horse and gave 
chase. The deer t]iat had been running for six or seven houi*s was 

Life of Scott Bond 33 

practically run down. So when the overseer overtook the deer, 
he leaped from the back of his horse to the back of the deer and 
cnt the throat of the fleeing animal. 

That was meat in the pot. There was no more work tliat day. 
It was deer for dinner, deer for supper and deer for breakfast. 


There was a woman named Julia Ann on our ])lantation, who, 
one day at dinner time, went to a tree where she had hun^ her 
dinner bucket. She reached up and got the bucket and backed 
up to the tree and sat down between its protruding roots to eat 
her dinner. When she got up, she found slie had been sitting on a 
rattle snake. The snake was killed. He had fifteen rattlers and 
a button on his tail. Ann fainted when she saw the snake. She 
said that she had felt the snake move, but thought that it was the 
cane giving way beneath her. 

Snakes of that size and variety were numerous in Arkansas in 
those times. 

I heard of an instance where a man built a house on a flat, 
smooth rock on a piece of land that he had bought. It was in 
the autumn when he built his house. When the \veatlier grew 
cold he made a fire on the rock. There had bet*n a hole in the 
rock, but the man had stopped it up. 

One night he had retired, and late in the night, his child, which 
was sleeping between him and his wife, became restless and 
awakened him. He reached for the child and found what he 
supposed was his wife's arm across the child, lie undertook to 
remove it and to his consternation, foun<l he had hold of a hcrge 
snake. He started to get out of bed, to make a light, and the 
whole floor was covered with snakes. He got out of the house 
with his wife and child. 

The next day the neighbors gathered, })urned the house jind 
killed hundreds of snakes. 

The house had been built over a den of snakes. 

When I first came to Arkansas as a little slave boy, things were 
different from what they are today. Arkansas was on the west- 

34 From Slavery to Wealth 

ern frontier. The clearings were small and far between. There 
were trails here and there, but few roads. 

Wild game of all kinds was abundant. Deer, turkeys, bears, 
raccoons, o 'possums and all varieties of small game were so plenti- 
ful that one only had to look about him to see some one or more 
kinds of game. 

It was next to impossible to make a com crop unless there was 
some one to hunt at night and guard the fields of ripening grain. 
If this was not done, the farms would be stripped of their com. 

There was a man named Slade, whose duty it was to hunt all 
night. He slept in the day time. He could not bring in all the 
game he would kill, hence the hands on our place would divide 
themselves into squads and take time about hunting with Slade 
at night until he had killed a load of coons, and they would then 
carry them home and go to sleep, leaving Slade to make the rest 
of the night alone. 

The meat secured in this way would last several families for 
some time. The next night another squad would accompany 
Slsuie on his hunt. 

One night a party who had been hunting with Slade, started 
for home. The night was dark and cloudy. They lost their way. 
They finally came to the bank of a lake they had never seen be- 
fore. There was a boat moored where thev came out. Thev saw 
a light across the lake, so they got into the boat and rowed across 
to see if they could get information as to the direction home. 

One their way back across the lake — it was by this time nearly 
sun-up — they ran their boat upon something which began to move. 
Upon investigation, it proved to be a large turtle. They secured 
it and sent for a mule to haul it out. When the shell was removed 
they had one hundred and forty-eight pound of turtle meat. 

Such was the abundance of wild life in those days that whole 
families could subsist on game if they so desired. 


Life of Scott Bond 37 


Scott Bond moved to Madison, St. Francis County, Ark., with 
his step-father, who had bargained to buy a farm, in 1872, and 
remained with him until he was 21 years of age. He then under- 
took to vouch for himself. His step-father contracted with him t© 
lemain with him until he was 22 years of age. His 
pay was to be one bale of cotton, board, washing and patching 
He thought the pay was small, but for the sake of his little brothers, 
that they might have a home paid for, he remained that year. The 
next year he walked eighteen miles to the Allen farm, having seen 
the possibilities in tlie fertile soil of that place in the two years he 
had worked on it with his step-father. He decided that would be 
the place to make monej\ He rented 12 acres of land at $6.50 per 
acre. He had no money, no corn, no horse, nothing to eat, no plows, 
no gears; but all the will-power that could be contained in one 
little hide. In 1876 he rented 35 acres and hired one man. In 1877 
he married Miss Magnolia Nash of Forrest City. The Allen farm, 
as stated elsewhere, contained 2,200 acres. The proprietor lived in 
Knoxville, Tenn. She sent her son over the next autumn, who in- 
sisted on Scott Bond renting the whole place. This he refused to 
do on the ground that he was unable to furnish the mules, feed, 
tools and other stock sufficient to cultivate it. Mr. Allen took a 
letter from his pocket that read: **Now, Scott, I have told Johnnie 
to be sure and do his uttermost to rent you this place, and as I am 
sure it would be quite a burden on you financially, you may draw 
on me for all the money that is required to buy mules, corn and 
tools." And at the bottom: **Scott, I think this will be one of the 
golden opportunities of your life.'' This lady was near kin to 
Scott Bond's former owner. He grasped the opportunity. There 
were all sorts of people living on the Allen farm. Some half-breed 
Indians, some few white families and some low, degraded colored 
people. The whites were no better than the others. The first 
thing Scott Bond had to do was to clean up the farm along those 
lines. He then secured axes, cross cut saws, and built a new fence 
around the entire farm — something that had not been done for 2i. 
years. When the crops were gathered and disposed of, Scott paid 
Mrs. Allen and everyone else for the rent and all other obligations. 

38 From Slavery to Wealth 

Tie received from Mrs. Allen, the owner of the farm, who lived in 
Knoxville, Tenn., a fine letter of thanks and congratulations for 
the improvements on the farm. The net profits, all bills paid, were 
$2,500, in addition to the gains on cotton seed. This farm is situ- 
ated right at the cast base of Crowley's Ridge, 42 miles due west of 
the Mississippi river. There were no levees in this county at that 
time, and when the overflows came we had a sea of water spread 
out from the Mississippi to the ridge. Mr. Bond said the next win- 
ter there came the biggest overflow he had ever seen. He took his 
boat and moved all the people, mules, cattle, hogs and horses to 
Crowley's Ridge. He lived about a mile and a half from Crowley's 
Ridge and owing to a deep slough or bayou between him and 
the ridge he was compelled to use a boat. There was perhaps no 
more exciting time in Mr. Bond's life than when with his boat he 
would brave the dangers of tlie murky flood and with the help of 
his crew scout the country over hunting out and rescuing people 
and stock from the rising, rushing waters. It is said by those who 
know, that Scott Bond saved the lives of hundreds of people, white 
and black. In this particular overflow he had 7,000 bushels of 
corn and 10,000 pounds of meat that he had killed and cured. He 
saved all this by putting it in the lofts of the different buildings on 
the place. Having secured his own people and property, he spent 
his time looking out and helping his neighbors. He lived in the 
great house on the Allen farm. He took flour barrels, placed planks 
on them for a scaffold to put his cooking stove and bed on. The 
next day he ran his dugout into the house and tied it to his bed 
post. Three days later he was compelled to get another set of bar- 
rels to raise his scaffold a little higher. On the third evening he ar- 
rived at home between sundown and dark with all his boatmen in 
dugouts. It was impossible to get in the door on account of the 
water. They ran the boats in through the windows, each man to his 
sleeping place. Every one of them was as wet as rats. They would 
have to stand on the head end of their boats to change their wet 
clothing before getting into their beds. The cook and his helper, 
who looked after things in the absence of the boats, were brave to 
start in with and promised to stay with Scott Bond as long as there 
was a button on his shirt, but when they saw the boats coming in 

Life of Scott Bond 4i 

through, the top sash of the window their melts drew^ up. They 
isaid, **Mr. Bond, we like you and have always been willing to do 
anything you asked us to do, but this w^ater is away beyond where 
we had any idea it would be. We are going to leave tomorrow 

They had all changed and put on dry clothing, and as a matte/ 
of course felt better. The next call was supper and dinner combined. 
A big tea kettle full of strong, hot coffee, spare ribs, back bones, 
hog heads, ears and noses. There was some shouting around that 
table. Mr. Bond says he did not attempt to pacify the cook and 
hostler until after all had finished supper, as llie time to ti;lk to an 
individual is when he has a full stomach. 

"The next day when we started out," says Mr. Bond, **I in- 
structed my men to 'do as you see me do.' If a cow jumps over 
board, follow her and grab her by the tail and stick to her until 
you come to some sappling or grape vine; grab it and hold to it 
until help arrives. Any man can hold a cow by the tail or horn 
in this way." 

All Mr. Bond's people were comfortably housed on Crowley's 
Kidge. In those days people did not need the assistance of the 
goveinment to take care of them. They had plenty of corn, meat 
and bread they produced at home. Six months later you could 
not tell that there ever had been an overflow from the looks of tho 
com and cotton. 

*'But to return to the boys who were getting frightened at- the 
ever-increasing flood," said Mr. Bond, **we all loaded our pipes 
and J on may know there was a smoke in the building. 'Twas 
then I said, *Boys, all sit down and let's reason with one another. 
Tlie water will be at a standstill tomorrow evening. I really know 
what I am talking about, because the stage of the river at Cairo 
always goverins the height of the water here. That is a thing I 
always keep posted on. While this, the great house, is tw^o-thirds 
fxdl of water, you must remember that this is the eddy right alonjj 
here, and anyone of you take your spike pole and let it down to 
the floor and you will find from 8 to 10 inches of sand and sedi- 

42 From Slavery to Wealth 

'*One man said, *I know he is right, because whenever an over- 
flow subsides 1 have to shovel out from ten to twelve inches ot* 
sand. This house is built out of hewn logs, 46 feet long and th^ 
biggest brick stack chimneys in the middle I ever saw. Now, boys, 
with all this meat and other things piled on this scaffold you are 
perfectly safe. 1 am feeding you boys and paying you well. 1 am 
only asking you to do what you sde me do. This satined them and 
we stuck together.'' 

Mr. Bond rented the same farm for eleven years. In that time 
he had paid for rent $16,000. He then wrote Mrs. Allen at Knox- 
ville in the month of August for her to be sure and try to get a 
tenant for the next year, as he had bought a farm of 300 acres of 
land at Madison on the St. Francis River, and he would be com 
pelled to go and develop it; that he had seven boys and he really 
felt that he would be doing them an injustice to have them renters 
the balance of their days. lie received a letter from Mrs. Allen in 
reply. The offer she made was hard to turn down, but looking 
around at his wife and beautiful boys, there was a longing for home 
sweet home and while he regretted to have to do so, he refused 
the offer. Mr. Bond says: **I paid $2 per acre for 320 acres and 
loday I am offered $85 per acre for every foot of it. If one had seen 
it before I bought it and would see it now with all its improvements, 
with splendid roads around it, over which automobiles pass every 
few minutes, they could hardly realize that it is the same place.*' 

The south seems to be the only place on earth for the Negro, 
with its fertile soil, its mild climate, its sunshine and its flowers, it 
does seem that nature had left this fair land in which to raise the 
Negro to the highest state of civilization. 

Mrs. Allen asked Mr. Bond to recommend to her the best tenant 
he could find. He could only think of two colored men whom he 
thought had the ability to take and manage the place, Bichard 
Miller and Henry Anderson. They were so placed at the time that 
they said it would be impossible for them to take hold. His next 
thought was of a white man named Newt Johnson, who had been 
his neighbor on the Allen farm for ten years. Mr. Johnson was 
proud of the chance. The next year there came another overflow 
Mr. Johnson was unable to employ the right kind of hands and made 

Life of Scott Bond 45 

a failure. He told Mrs. Allen his troubles Avilli the overflow and 
he a^eed to try it another year, that he thought he would succeed. 
J don't know what per cent of the rent young Mr. Allen collected 
that autumn. Mr. Johnson and others told young Allen that those 
two big overflows liad literally ruined the farm. They took him 
around and showed him the different sand bars that had accumu- 
lated on the place. Mr. Allen, a gentleman as he was, not bein*^ 
posted about these conditions, said; * Gentlemen, I have heard of 
jiiist such things.'' No sprouts had been cut nor ditch banks been 
cleaned off for two years. The place really did look desperate. 
Mr. Allen returned to his mother at Knoxville and explained things 
to her just as he found them. They held a consultation. Mrs. Allen 
Bald: 'Johnnie, what shall we do with that farm? I would not 
have you go back and live there for anything. You know that the 
Boyd Manufacturing Company promised that if I would not take 
\'Our wife back to Arkansas to give you a half interest in the man- 
ufacfturing concern. Now, Johnnie, I had rather for Uncle Scott 
to have that place than anyone I know. Get your pen and I will 
dictate a contract to Uncle Scott. It read thus: 'Uncle Scott, if 
you will pay the taxes which amount to $136 and then pay ne 
$1,000. every November until you pay me $5,000, I will make you a 
warranty deed to the whole 2,200 acres. 

**When Mr. Allen arrived with the contract in his pocket," Mr. 
Bond says, 'he found me ginning cotton to beat the band on gin 
on my new farm that I had cleaned up. The sun was about three 
hours high the morning Mr. Allen came to me. He seemed to be 
full of glee. His aristocratic breeding and training showed in his 
every movement, lie grasped my hand and said, 'Howdy, Uncle 
Scott, mamma sends her highest regards to you and your family.' 
I was proud to have the pleasure of meeting Mr. Allen at my new 
steam gin with all the modem improvements an J last but not least, 
it was built on my own land. I showed him my new brick kiln that 
I had just blown out. I made everything around the gin plant as 
pleasant for him as I knew how and looked every moment for him 
to say, 'Good bye, Uncle Scott,' knowing his quickness of move- 
ment and decision. I was at a loss to know wh^t to do for him. 
At 10;30 o'clock I sent a messenger to inform my wifo that Mr. John 

46 From Slavery to Wealth 

Allen of Knoxville would be with me for dinner. She had not 
much time to prepare, but when the boy returned he brought turnip 
«alad, eggs and fried ehicken. Knowing the customs that existed 
between the white man and the Negro in the south, I spread a clotb 
on the top board of the scales, fixed his plate, knife and fork and 
Raid. 'Mr. Allen, have a lunch.' Mr. Allen said, 'Uncle Scott, this 
^'s your gin and your property. As you used to belong to CJousin 
Mary Francis Bond, who always felt dear to mother, now 3'ou com<? 
and let's eat together.' 

" *You know a man feels best just after he has had a good din- 
ner. Mr. Allen said, * Uncle Scott, I have a proposition for you that 
will make you scratch the back of your head.' This, of course, took 
no effect on me. but when he drew from his pocket the contract 
his mother had authorized him to submit to me, I was struck with 

When I came to myself T was standing on the front 
•jde of the scales scratching my head. I looked around 
and Mr. Allen laughingly remarked: *I told you 1 wouln 
have you scratching your head.' I then began to figure. I 
had hundreds of acres of land already on hand that were already 
paid for, but I reasoned that if I could rent a farm and pay $1,250 
a year rent until I had paid the proprietor $16,000, as I had done 
on that same farm, it looked to niiC like the proposition was a good 
one. I said, * Where will you be tomorrow at 9 o'clock!' He said 
he could be at any place I would have him to be." 

Mr. Bond agreed to meet Mr. Allen in Forrest City the next 
morning and close the deal. '*The next morning," says Mr. Bond, 
*'I rode over to Forrest City and met Mr. Allen and Mr. T. 0. Fitz- 
patrick on the sidewalk. As usual' Mr. Fitzpatrick said, 'Good 
morning, Uncle Scott.' Mr. Allen said, '* Uncle Scott, I have a bet- 
ter proposition to offer you than the one I offered you yesterday. 
I have a party who will take it at $5,000 and pay half of the money 
cash.' Mr. Fitzpatrick said, *Have you been talking with Uncle 
Scott about this deal?' 'Yes,' I was at his gin plant yesterday all 
^lay and ho promised to be here this morning at 9 o'clock to close 
ihe deal.' Mr. Fit/patrick remarked : 'Now, T take down my propo- 

Life of Scott Bond 49 

tsition and have nothing to do with the deal. There stands one 
man, Scott Bond, that I always thought to be a gentleman.' " 

Mr. Bond said : * ' Mr. Pitzpatriek that is all 0. K. Now in order 
to help Mr. Allen ont and also better your condition we will buy 
the farm in partnership.' ' Mr. Fitzpatrick said : **That would suit 
me better than buying it by myself, provided you promise me that 
you will superintend the farm for five years, with the understand- 
ing that T. 0. Fit/patrick will allow you big wages for superin- 
tending the farm.'' 

Here, again, Scott Bond showed his ability and foresight. He 
says: '*I grabbed like a trout at a troll. I sold my new gin plant 
on my place and moved back to the Allen farm. The only thing 
invested in the farm to start with was a pair of plug mules and 180 
bushels of corn." He says when he got on the good old farm he 
felt like he was the bull dog of the bone yard. We here again 
repeat Mr. Bond's word without quotation: When I was on this 
farm as a renter I thought I had a big melt. When I looked around 
and seeing there was a probability of me becoming proprietor I felt 
that I could do four times the amount of work I could do before. 
There was immediate dcDiand for axes, hoes, plows and people. In 
four years' time there was over 100 additional acres of land brought 
under cultivation ; fourteen new houses with brick chimneys, a new 
steam gin and a kiln of brick ; the farm was stocked out with work 
stock and tools and the farm all paid for. I then turned every- 
thing over to Mr. Fitzpatrick and rented to him my interest in the 
farm, gin, mules and horses. I moved back home with my beauti- 
ful wife and children and began clearing and improving my big 
farm at Madison. Some years later the colored peoi)le all around 
Madison, where I live, became Africa struck. I begged them not to 
sell their farms and go to Africa, but first go and see for themselves. 
All my begging and advising did not avail. T owned at that time 
320 acres in that inmmediate locality and saw there was another 
opportunity. I sold my interest in the Allen farm to Mr. T. 0. 
Fitzpatrick and received every' dollar in cash. This money bought 
in seven other little farms adjoining mine. I told Mr. Fitzpatrick 
that he and I could get along in perfect harmony all the days 
of our lives but after our days our boys might not agree as we had 

50 From Slavery to Wealth 

done ; that I thought it good policy as well as profitable to myself 
to sell. When I got the seven little farms attached to my main 
big farm, I found there was room for the little bull dog to grow 
larger and stronger as there was plenty of room for work and im- 
provement. All these years cotton was only 5 cents a pound. 
My larger children were all in college. One can readily see there 
was plenty of room and reason for the little bull dog to raise his 
bristles. All this land was high-class, fertile land. I came to the 
conclusion that I would go into the Irish potato business. Potato 
growing was something new to me, but I always felt I could leaxa 
to do anything any one else could do. I paid $500 for seed potatoes 
the first dash out of the box and planted fifty acres. We made a 
very good crop, shipped about 20 car loads and made a nice profit. 
Seeing this was the thing to do, I next year planted 110 acres. I got 
a good stand and by dii^ging time I foimd a tremendous crop of 
potatoes. I had everything arranged, about 75 hands, buckets, 
baskets, barrels and teams ready to start digging potatoes on Mon- 
day morning. I awoke at 3 o'clock and said to my wife in the 
bed, ** Just listen to the rain.*' This of course knocked potato dig- 
ging in the head. I thought, however, that it would be all right 
in a day or two, but it rained a solid week and when I started dig- 
ging the ground was really too wet, but I thought I had to do 
something but the next day it rained again. I finally made up my 
mind to continue digging but it was a bad old go. As fast as I 
would load one end of the car I could smell the potatoes rotting, 
in the other end of the car. 

I shipped about 30 car loads, many of which when they reachefl 
their destination the consignee would write back, ** Please remit 
$5 or $10 to pay balance of freight.*' One can see that I had the 
land and had the potatoes, there was no reason in the world why 
I should not have shipped 65 or 70 car loads of nice, clean, commer- 
cial potatoes, but the rain did it all. Instead of making a profit 1 
lost $5,000. T soon learned to realize that this was an unavoidable 
accident. There was no negligence on my part. The little bull 
dog raised his bristles again and remarked to himself, **The place 
you lost it is the place to make it." I prepared the land again for 
a fall crop, got a good stand, built a potato house, dug and housed 

life of Scott Bond 53 

the potatoes and saved them for seed potatoes on the Texas market 
the following spring. I had about 10,000 bushels, which by holding 
until February brought $1.25 per bushel. I got back all the money 
]ost on the first crop to pay all the expenses of the second crop and 
leave me a neat margin. 

Cotton was still selling for four and five cents a pound and as a 
matter of course I continued to grow potatoes. There is perhaps 
no vegetable that is more palatable and more nutritious than the 
humble potato. The next year I grew seventy-five acres of potatoes 
as the seasons came right and I had learned to prepare the land to 
cultivate a potato crop. All this gave me a wonderful yield. We 
began digging about the 10th of June. The mjarket opened up at 
$1.10 per bushel, but this only held good for a few car loads and 
the prices took a downward trend. Chicago and Pittsburg were 
my best markets. My commission men in those two cities kept 
writing me, telling me to rush my shipments as the price would go 
sky high in a few days. I had not much confidence in their predic- 
tions. Potatoes had fallen to 75c a bushel. I was not able at that 
time to keep up with interstate commerce. I made up my mind 
to try some good horse sense concerning the market. Two of my 
soutliem friends came by to view my potato crop and to see the 
manner in which I was selecting potatoes for the market, as they 
were strictly in the potato business and had handled several hun- 
dred car loads from this community. They insisted that I should 
let them handle my potatoes for me. I told them I could not do it. 
1 was taking at that time a paper that was devoted especially to 
potatoes that were grown in all parts of the United States. This 
?ave me a chance to see and learn something of the market. I had 
already decided to close out my entire crop to some other people 
who understood the market better than I did, so I remarked to 
them: ** Gentlemen, I cannot let you take this crop and handle it 
for me, but I have a proposition to make you ; that is, I will sell 
3-0U these two cars we are now loading for 75 cents per bushel, 
and then I will close out the balance of my crop to you for 65 cents 
per bushel and will gather, sort and load them, that is, deliver 
them to our station for 65c per bushel." They were both perfect 
gentlemen. They conferred with each other a short time, then 

54 From Slavery to Wealth 

turned to me and said, *' Uncle Scott, we will take your proposition 
if you will allow us to put two inspectors to see that potatoes are 
selected and loaded properly." This 1 agreed to. It was about the 
ilth of June. I further agreed to get the crop loaded by 12 o'clock 
midnight, June 16th. I had worlds of potatoes to dig. Then and 
there 1 got busy. We finished those two cars that day, ate supper 
and that night 1 jumped into my saddle and rode over the entire 
community. The next morning at sun up I had 125 hands in my 
l)otato field. I sent eighteen miles to my upper farm to get more 
mules and wagons to double my capacity. I figured that I only had 
five days in which to dig and load this crop, but if I got 10 days out 
of five days by working day and night I could complete my con- 
tract. Business picked up, but the price of potatoes continued to 
fall. This inspired me with more ambition to hustle. We would 
begin in the morning as soon as it was daylight. I had my teams 
arranged so as to give each one of them rest. We would dig and 
barrel all day and at sundown have fresh teams and a fresh crew 
and load cars all night. This enabled me to load from two to four 
cars a day. On the 16th I had finished digging my entire crop with 
the exception of one small car. I dug that next day and it netted 
me only 15 cents a bushel. From the day I sold the two cars at 
75 cents and the balance of my crop at 65 cents a bushel the market 
continued to go down every day, so you can see that it was to my 
interest to push things and get through by the 16lh. Just think 
about it! I had no written contract with these gentlemen. The 
contract was only verbal. The names of these gentlemen were 
Mr. Eugene Rolfe, now county judge of our county, and Mr. Eugene 
Borrow. Both of them were southern bom, aristocratic gentlemen 
who always stand upon their honor. They paid me every dollar 
they agreed to like heroes. I wound up that year by making a 
handsome profit on my potato crop. Cotton advanced that year 
to 8 cents per pound. This brought about quite a change as cotton 
had been four and five cents for years. I looked over the situation 
and concluded that on account of the advance in cotton it would 
be hard to get hands to handle a potato crop. I knew the potato 
to be a leguminous plant. Then considering the amount of 
plowing I had to do to make two potato crops, I concluded that that 

Life of Scott Bond 57 

land would grow a good crop of cotton. I planted that land to 
cotton. I never had in all my days such cotton crops as were 
grown on that land for the next two or three years Cotton sold 
that year for 10 1-2 cents and by Texas going into the potato busi- 
ness on account of the boll weevil, I decided to stop potato growing 
while times were good. Cotton has remained at a fair price from 
that time until the European war, when in 1914 the bottom again 
fell out of the cotton market. I then began to diversify my crops 
in earnest. I planted wheat, rye, oats and alfalfa and began in a 
small way to accumulate cattle and hogs. I saw the prices on that 
class of farm produce was up and going higher. During all these 
years I kept my children in college and managed to buy another 
farm every year. 

One of the greatest mistakes people make is when they take their 
children out of school in the very years they should be in training. 
It is false economy to think they are of more permanent heln in the 
field than in the school room. More children are cheated out oi* 
an education in this way than in any other. 


In this age of specialization, it is unusal to find a man who 
does many things well. A saying that "a jack of all trades is 
good at none," is certainly not appropriate in relation to the 
subject of this sketch. It may be that the exception proves the 
rule: If this be true then, the life of Scott Bond is the excep- 
tion. Mr. Bond not only did many things, but he also made a 
success of everything he touched. 

In 1876, the records show that he was the first of his race to 
do merchandising in the then little town of Forrest City, which 
has since become the county seat of St. Francis County. 

At that time, Mr. William Bond, Scott Bond's step-father and 
Mr. Abe Davis, proposed to him to open a store. They agreed 
to go each one-third share and share alike ; each to invest $200 
dollars and Scott Bond to be in charge to handle the business. 
Each was to pay one-third of the expenses, rent, clerk hire, etc. 
So about the 15th of December, Mr. Scott Bond insisted that 


58 From Slavery to Wealth 

business should be started in order to get the benefit of the 
Christmas trade. He therefore invested his $200 and his step- 
father and Mr. Davis agreeing to come in with their share a little 
later. January, February, March and April came and still they 
were not ready. The business was a success for the capital in- 
vested, but the capital was not large enough, so May 3rd Mr. 
Bond decided to pack up and store his goods. He stored them 
with Mr. Abe Davis, and on May 4th, went back to the Allen 
farm to make a crop. 

About this time he was engaged to be married to Miss Maggie 
Nash of Forrest City. The night before he went to the Allen 
farm, he called on his fiance. She was living with a white 
family, one of whom a young lady was also named Miss Maggie 
Nash. Mr. Bond told his future wife that he was going to the 
Allen farm and promised her a box of stationery and stamps, 
that she might write hinL The next day he purchased a nice box 
envelopes, writing paper and stamps and sent them to her by 
a young colored man, who marched up to the front door and 
delivered the package. 

The young white lady received it, thinking it was for her. At 
this time Mr. Bond's future wife entered the room and noticing 
the package claimed it and told Miss Nash to look at the name 
on the box, which she did and found it from Scott Bond. After 
a jolly laugh in which all joined, the present Mrs. Scott Bond 
was allowed to take her stationery. 

It was in the time of the old horse gin, and the conveniences 
of the modem gin were undreamed of. The cotton was hauled 
to the gin and unloaded in baskets, then fed to the gin by hand 
and pressed into bales with the old wooden screw. 

So when Mr. Bond had picked all his cotton he and his wife 
hauled it to the gin house and unloaded it up into the gin. He 
had two ponies and two borrowed horses. His wife, to save 
75 cents a day insisted on driving the ponies for the week and 
his cousin Ananias drove the borrowed horses and it took all 
week to gin 12 bales. At noon they would go home to dinner of 
left overs from breakfast 

One of the most delightful southern dishes is baked raccoon. 

" S:'t' 1 

Life of Scott Bond 61 

Mrs. Bond, a past mistress in the art culinary, would often 
get her husband to visit a famous trapper who was camped not 
far away to procure a raccoon, which she would proceed to cook 
after a fashion that would delight an epicure. 

Upon one of these visits, the trapper had no coons, and offered 
Mr. Bond a beaver. Mrs. Bond had always said that she would 
not eat a beaver. The trapper skinned a beaver and persuaded 
Mr. Bond to take it and not tell Mrs. Bond it was a beaver. 
When he arrived at home, his wife remarked that it was the 
largest and fattest "coon" she had ever seen. She cooked it 
and both ate very heartily of it. Some time later she told Mr. 
Bond to bring her another "coon" large and fat, just like the 
other one. Mr. Bond then told her that what she had before 
was a beaver. Well it was excellent and that he had better get 
her another beaver. 

Mr. Bond swapped a mule for a yoke of small steers and he 
would load two bales of cotton on a little ox cart and drive 16 
miles to Forrest City and get home again late in the night. 

The next year he increased his acreage, procured more stock 
and took on some share croppers. By this time his wife was 
compelled to stay at home, to use Mr. Bond's own words, "be- 
cause we had gone into the baby business." 

With three share croppers he cultivated 75 acres in com and 
cotton and gathered 67 bales of cotton and all the com, nay 
and potatoes needed. He would never tell his hands to go on 
but would say "come on and let's go." He never knew what it 
was to get tired ; and he never allowed any one about him to get 
tired. He was a close observer. Whenever he would find his 
hands becoming fatigued he would start joking and make them 
forget that they were working. 

It was actuallly fun for him in those days to take an interest 
in what is now called diversified farming. Cotton, corn peas, 
vegetables, calves and pigs each had a share of his interest and 
in each line he was unusally successful. And the things that 
encouraged him most was when he saw that his two boys were 
growing. This fired his ambition for greater effort, as he knew 
they would soon be ready for college. 

62 From Slavery to Wealth 

One of his families of share croppers had worked with Mr. 
Bond's step-father while Mr. Bond was quite a boy. The old 
man's naihe was Bill Thomas. Another man, named Albert 
Banks, with Thomas and Mr. Bond were picking cotton for Mr. 
Bond's step-father. The rumor got out that Mr. Bond's step- 
father was going to give up the farm they were working, and 
move to a farm he had bought. Old man Bill Thomas was 
tongue-tied, hence could not speak very plainly. The three 
were picking cotton, side by side in cotton taller than themselves. 
Bill Thomas said to Banks : 

"Suppose you and I rent this big farm next year and hire 
Scott to feed horses and do chores, and we will grease his mouth 
every day with a 'eatskin (meaning meatskin)." 

Scott remarked you had better learn how to talk and not say 
'eatskin, 'eatskin. 

It would make the old man exceeding angry for anyone to 
mock him, because he was tongue-tied. He grabbed his sack and 
leaped across the rows after Scott exclaiming: "You stinkin' 
booga! I'll lick you if it is the last thing I do!" 

The cotton was higher than one's head on horse back. Scott 
was so small he could run under the cotton and out run the old 
man. He chased Scott for some time and finally gave up, saying 
to Scott, "I'll git yer." 

Time rolled on and Scott grew to manhood and finally bought 
the farm where they had this controversy, and the old man. Bill 
Thomas came to Mr. Bond and offered to work on shares v;ith 
him. Knowing he was a good hand and easy to get along with, 
his proposition was accepted. Mr. Bond fed all the hands out 
of his own smoke house. 

One Saturday evening all of the people came up to the smoke 
house to get their weekly rations, and to use Mr. Bond s words 

"I locked the door and started into the house. All had their 
meat and were sitting under a large shade tree in front of the 
smoke house. Old man Thomas called and said, *Bond come 
back here.' " 

"I turned and went back to see what he wanted." 

Life of Scott Bond 65 

He said : "Boys, listen and let me tell you something. Some 
five or six years ago, I chased that ere man you see standin thar 
all over dat kr cotton patch over yonder, for mocking me when 
I said I would grease his mouf wid a 'eatskin. Little did I 
think at dat time, dat some day he would be greasin my mouf 
and my wife's mouf and my child's mouf wid a 'eatskin and 
heres de 'eatskin under my arm." 


While money in one sense of the word is no more than chips, 
yet it has a great power. The first money I ever had in my 
hands to amount to anything was $1,250.00. This money was to 
pay the rent on the farm I had rented. I had paid out this 
amount for several successive, years before that. But as it was 
the custom and habit in those days, the Negro would give the 
land owner an order to his merchant and the merchant would 
pay the rent. 

Toward the last it appeared that my merchant and my land- 
lord did not agree pleasantly, when she went to collect her rent. 
I had paid out seven or eight thousand dollars for rent by giving 
orders in this way. So my landlord wrote me a note, telling 
me to go and get the money and bring it over and pay it to her, 
and she would give me my rent note. I was very busy at the 
time and thought this was working a hardship on me. But 
seeing this was the proper thing to do, I saddled my horse and 
proceeded at once. I had to go six miles to get to the merchant, 
and then nine miles to the landlord. 

The merchant asked why I did not give an order as I had been 

I replied : **You Dutchmen have insulted my landlord, and you 
know she don't have to come after it. It is my place to carry it 
to her, so get it out." 

As I had money there to my credit of course they proceeded to 
count it out. 

I had made thousands and thousands of dollars up to this 
time, but I had never allowed the money to go through my hands. 
My business had all been done through orders and checks. 

66 From Slavery to Wealth 

When Mr. Block, my merchant counted out this money, there 
was $500 in bran new $10 bills, $500 in $5 bills, pinned in two 
different packages, then $250 in $1 and $2 bills. He looked at 
me and said : "Here is your money." 

I took the money and placed it in the inside pocket of my 
overcoat. This gave me a new idea of the difference between 
handling the money and handling orders. I used great pre- 
caution in buttoning up my overcoat, bounced into my saddle and 
rode off to my landlord. Once in a while I felt like hugging 
this money. After I had gone about two miles I stopped my 
horse in the road and said to myself. I must take this money 
out, look at it and count it. 

Another thought came to me, that no, I must not do that, some 
highwayman might come along, see it and rob me. I rode off 
into the woods until I came to a log. I dismounted, tied my 
horse to a brush, went up to the log, pulled out my money, un- 
pinned it and scattered it all up and down the log. After I had 
this money all scattered up and down the log, it seemed that I 
could not view the money standing right over it so I stepped 
back from it a piece and walked up and down by the log. I 
said, *This is product of labor of my own hand. Here is $1,250 
which I am giving the landlord to let me cultivate her land." 
and at that point, when I could realize how hard I had strived 
and struggled, to make this money, and as far is I was concerned 
it was just like taking that much money casting it into the fire 
or throwing it into the well so far is any good it would do me. 
Then I could look and see what it was to own a farm. 

Now when I looked ahead of me down the lane of time, see- 
ing what a hill I had to pull, by way of educating my children 
and also buying a farm, I was compelled to shed a few tears. 
But I soon looked on the bright side and said, "Others have 
accomplished those things and so can I, and I said then and there 
if I live, some day I will have others bringing it to me this way." 
I can eay today, if I would sit down and demand it, I could have 
more than ten times the amount brought to me for rents. 

I gathered up my money. I was not able to get it in as neat 

Life of Scott Bond 69 

a package as when I started from town with it. Off I went to 
my landlord. 

The landlord of whom I speak and my mistress were first 
cousins. They frequently visited each other. I was a little 
servant boy. When my mistress would visit the lady of whom 
I speak, of course I would at meal times, take my meals in the 
kitchen with the other servants. When I reached there with 
this money, it was then I learned another new lesson in the 
difference between orders and real money. 

It was a little after 11 o'clock when I arrived at the lady's 
front door. I pulled off my hat and laid it on the steps which was 
customary for Negroes at that time. I rang the door bell. Mrs. 
Allen came to the door and said good morning Uncle Scott, how 
do you do. Walk in. "I replied, howdy, I have come to bring 
you your money." 

She said, 'That is all right." I took out the money and 
placed it on the center table and asked her to please count it and 
if correct to give me my rent note. 

This she did in a few minutes. The money was all right. 
She hunted up the rent note, marked it paid and handed it to me, 
and said "Scott, I am much obliged to you for the rent money 
and your promptness in paying same." 

"Mrs. Allen you are perfectly welcome, but I realize the fact 
that I am the dependent party. I have no property of my own 
and I am the one that is much obliged." 

I turned around and said good bye Mrs. Allen. She said no, 
no, you can't go home until you have dinner. You have to ride 
7 miles and now it only a few minutes to 12 o'clock. Take this 
seat and sit down and I will go and see Maria and have her to 
rush dinner. She soon returned and got a chair and sat down 
and asked how was "Bunnie" ( nick name for my wife) and the 
two boys. 

Then she asked me hundreds of questions and entertained me 
in a way that I had never been entertained before in life. She 
was cultured and refined and had the ability to entertain any 

70 From Slavery to Wealth 

In a little while she had the servant girl to bring a small table. 
They used nothing but linen table cloths, silver knives and 
forks, and napkins. The servant was sent to the pantry and 
set all sorts of preserves on this little table. Dinner was 
brought in and I was asked to sit up and eat dinner. Mrs. Allen 
said, *'I will sit and entertain you while you eat." 

I want to say that this was an unusually fine dinner for a man 
like me. I ate very heartily, but I could not really enjoy this 
wonderful dinner. My mind ran back to the time when I was 
glad to eat in the kitchen among the cook pots and slop buckets, 
and at the time enjoyed the meals in the kitchen better than I 
did the feast set before me by Mrs. Allen. Instead of enjoying 
my dinner, I took all my time to figure out what had brought 
about this great and wonderful change. Now to solve this prob- 
lem and entertain Mrs. Allen all at the same time was quite a 
job for a fellow who was uneducated, but by the time I got 
through eating and entertaining Mrs. Allen I had worked out 
the problem ; that was this, the $1,250 paid it all. 

I mounted my horse and arrived at home about sun down. 
This day's trip caused me to look and see differently from what 
I had ever seen in all my iite. After supper I sat down with my 
wife and talked the whole thing over. 1 said, "wife I am going 
tomorrow and buy 300 acres of land. I have learned today what 
it is to own a farm." 

Life of Scott Bond 73 


There was a man in Forrest City, a saloon keeper named 
Pritchard, who had offered me 300 acres of land and made me 
two propositions. One was $800 in two payments and the other 
$600 cash. 

The next morning I got on my horse and started to Forrest 
City, eighteen miles from where I lived. I found Mr. Pritchard 
very busy, but walked up to him and said : 

'Is the deal still open on the piece of land that you spoke of, 
300 acres on the Little Rock and Memphis R. R., right close to 
Madison ? 

He said, "Yes." 

"I think I understood you to say that you would take $800 in 
two payments or $600 spot cash." 

"Yes, that is what I said." 

"I will be here Friday next with the money." 

I suppose you will be ready to make me a deed on that date." 

"Yes, that is a trade and I will be here." 

i returned home that evening went to Wittsburg and told my 
merchants, R. and B. Block, that I wanted $400. They asked me 
when I wanted it. I told them I would call for it Thursday 
evening at 6 o'clock. At this time I walked in. Mr. Ralph Block 
said to his partner : 

"Ben here is Uncle Scott. He wants $400." 

Mr. Ben Block said "What are you going to do with it." 

I said : "I am going to buy a piece of land." 

"How much will the land cost you ?" 

"Six hundred dollars." 

Mr. Ralph Block said : "You told me you only wanted $400. 

I said : "Yes sir, but I have $200 in my pocket." 

Mr. R. Block said : "How will this suit you, you give us your 
$200 and we will give you a check on M. Y. Myers, New Orleans, 
for $600." 

"I said : That is all O. K., if that will answer the purpose." 

I paid over the $200 and got the check for $600. Went to For- 
rest City the next day. Found Mr. Pritchard very busy in his 

74 From Slavery to Wealth 

I stepped up to him an5 said : "I am ready for the deed." 

He said : "Have you got the money?" 

"Yes, sir." 

All right I will go and see Mr. Wilson, J. P., and have him 
write the deed. 

We walked over to the Justice's office. 

"Mr. Wilson I want you to write a deed to this man, Scott Bond, 
for a piece of land that I own on the Little Rock R. R., close to 
Madison. Here is my deed from which you can get the descrip- 
tion of the property." 

"All right I will have the deed ready for you in a few minutes. 
But I want to know what is the consideration." 

Mr. Pritchard said : "Let's see I made him two propositions, 
one was $800 in two payments, the other $600 cash, which one 
are you going to take?" 

I told him I would take the one for $600 cash. 

Mr. Wilson said all right and started writing. 

Mr. Pritchard looked at me a few minutes and said : "Nigger 
I am very busy and I have no time for foolishness. I want to 
know if you have the money." 

"Yes sir. I will hand you a check from R. and B. Block at 
Wittsburg, Ark., payable by M. Y. Myers and Co., N. O." 

He took the check and looked at it and said, "Wilson what do 
you think of that?" 

Mr. Wilson said, "R. and B. Block at Wittsburg are all right 
I know. M. Y. Myers at N. 0., has a fine rating and I think the 
check is all 0. K., but carry it down stairs, L. Rollwage and Co. 
and they can give you the information you want." 

Mr. Pritchard took the check to L. Rollwage and Co., and they 
told him the check was as good as gold and they would be glad 
to cash it for him as soon as it was in his possession. 

In a little while, Mr. w ilson had finished the deed. After the 
deed was signed and the check paid over, my appearance showed 
a fellow that lived away back in the sticks, had not been to the 
barber shop for some time. My hair was long, my clothing were 
patches. I had been working at the gin and was full of cotton 
and really looked pretty tough. 



i'v,-, ! 



^En^EnHHrM /f 






" , ■ ■ i 


■ . /■ 

■■ ' ■ v., 

- i 

Life of Scott Bond 77 

Mr. Pritchard looked at me and made an oath and said: 
"Nigger, where did you get all this money?" 

"You can readily see from the check that I got it from R. and 
B. Block at Wittsburg." 

"I want to know how you got the prestige to get that much 
money ?" 

"From the day that your action drove me from Mrs. Maloney's 
hotel, where I was a waiter boy, I have learned to realize that 
all the money, gold and silver has been dug from the bowels of 
the earth. I am glad to say to you that I made 156 bales of cot- 
ton last year and I will get something over 175 this year, so you 
can see where the Negro got the money from." 


The incidents of Mr. Bond's life are all very interesting, but 
perhaps none will portray the financial foresightedness and 
ready ability of the man more than the sale of the Allen Farm. 
First the method in making the sale, second the look ahead for 
breakers that in time of prosperity and general contentment 
would not be thought of by the ordinary mind. 

The attempt to sell a bunch of cattle caused him to find a 
ready buyer for the Allen farm. 

He was in partnership in this farm with Mr. T. 0. Fitzpatrick 
and had been superintendent of the farm for four or five years 
for himself and Mr. Fitzpatrick. At this time Mr. Fitzpatrick 
was superintending the Allen farm for himself and Mr. Bond. 

On a certain day Mr. Eugene Rolfe a prominent white gen- 
tleman who is now County Judge of St. Francis County, wanted 
to buy a bunch of cattle Mr. Bond had at that time running on 
the Allen farm. Mr. Bond says: 

"I agreed to sell these cattle and the day was set to go and look 
at them. Mr. Rolfe and he went up in a two horse rig. This 
was about the middle of November." 

Mr. Bond says: "To get to where the cattle were we had to 
pass a gin I had built but was then being operated by Mr. Fitz- 
patrick. Prior to this time Mr. Fitzpatrick had agreed to turn 

78 From Slavery to Wealth 

over to me twenty bales of cotton as my interest as rent on the 
farm that year. This was one of the most notable farms in the 
county at that time, being situated on the St Francis river, 
where the military road, built by Gen. Jackson, crosses that 
stream. There was a ferry boat there to transfer people back 
and forth across the river. It contained 2,200 acres of the most 
fertile land in Eastern Arkansas. 

As Mr. Rolfe and myself reached the gin I asked Mr. Rolfe 
to stop a minute, and shouted, hello. Mr. Fitzpatrick came out 
on the platform. I said, "Good morning Mr. Fitzpatrick. Mr. 
Rolfe said good morning also. I said, "what day shall I send my 
wagons for the cotton?" 

He said: "I have 18 bales ready for you now and expect to 
gin the other two bales this evening, so you can send your 
wagons tomorrow morning." 

"All right sir." Mr. Rolfe and I drove on. Mr. Fitzpatrick 
was one of the most noted and influential white citizens of the 
county, was a Republican and had been County Clerk for a num- 
ber of years. Mr. Rolfe was also a very noted gentleman in the 
county, being honest and upright. 

We had been boys together and threw rocks on the creek on 
Sundays. This grew into manhood friendship. Mr. Rolfe re- 
marked to me: "Scott you ought to feel mighty grand." 

Why so, Mr. Rolfe?" 

'Just think of you driving up to a steam gin and hailing a man 
like Mr. Fitzpatrick, who is finely educated, who has a repu- 
tation equal to any man in the county and also having a man like 
myself driving you in a double rig." 

"Mr. Rolfe it is a long lane that never turns. You must real- 
ize that Mr. FitzpatncK has used me this way for several years." 

(At the same time I was on his bond for $5,000.) 

"So far as you are concerned it would be a real pleasure to 
me to drive you or wait on you in any way." 

We drove on up to what was known as the big house. There 
we unloaded and took it afoot all over the farm, hunting up the 
cattle, I had agreed to sell to Mr. Rolfe. 


Life of Scott Bond 81 

Mr. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Rolfe were friends morally and 
socially. Mr. Rolf e being a very shrewd trader, Mr. Fitzpat- 
rick was somewhat shy of him along these lines. After we 
passed the gin, Mr. Fitzpatrick began to wonder what Scott and 
Rolfe were up to. So he sent a boy out on the farm to see what 
Mr. Rolfe and I were doing. 

The boy returned to Mr. Fitzpatrick and told him he really 
could not tell what we were doing. He saw us go up the river 
bank and then along the levee, thence south to the old mill yard ; 
that we had left the double rig at the big house and gone afoot. 

Mr. Rolfe and I founu all the cattle. I closed the deal and sold 
him the cattle. We both got into the rig and started back to 
Forrest City. As we passed the gin Mr. Fitzpatrick was out 
marking some cotton. We raised our hands and waved him 
good bye. 

This was 18 miles from my home place. I arrived home about 
7 o'clock, which at that season of the year is after dark. Wife 
as usual had a hot supper waiting for me. 

Right here I want to say something that a very few men can 
say. My wife has never turned me out from home, regardless 
of the time of night, without a warm breakfast or waiting sup- 
per for my return, in all our forty years of married life. 

About 9 o'clock that same evening I heard some one speak at 
the front gate. 

I remarked to my wife that, "that is Mr. Ktzpatrick. I 
wonder what is the matter? I just left him about five hours 
ago on the Alien farm." I walked to the door and said, "Get 
down Mir. Fitzpatrick and come in. I have a good fire. I will 
have a boy unsaddle and put up your horse and feed him." 

He walked in. I ^ve him a chair and he sat down by the fire. 

"I am sure you have had no supper." 

"No, but it is too late now to think of supper." 

'"Yes, but it is never too late for a hungry man to eat." 
• "Well, as you insist, I will have a snack, for your wife can 
cook the best biscuit I ever ate." 

My wife got busy and then the conversation started. 

"Now I see that you and Rolfe were today on the Alien farm 

82 From Slavery to Wealth 

looking over and inspecting the farm. I don't intend to have 
anything to do with Rolfe as a partner on the Allen Farm. It 
is a part of our contract that when either of us take a notion the 
other should have the refusal of buying, and I am here tonight 
to say to you that I demand that refusal." 

I dropped my head and began to think that the time had pre- 
sented itself for me to sell out to a good advantage. I had 
several times thought of selling, but had decided that it would 
be a hard matter to find a man with the cash money to buy. 

Mr. Rolfe had never said anything to me about buying the 
Allen farm, nor had I said a word to him about selling the Allen 
farm. I thought for a few minutes, that it would not do to 
mislead Mr. Fitzpatrick as 'we had always been friends and on 
the other hand I did not feel guilty of doing so. 

I raised my head and said, are you willing to buy? 

"Well, yes. What do you want for your interest?" 

"I want $5,000 all cash," 

"That is really more cash than I have, but I am sure I can 
raise the balance provided that you take my note 90 days for 

I will be able to close the deal with you, Mr. Fitzpatrick I 
think by 9 o'clock tomorrow." 

Now he said, "I am not going to have a thing to do with Rolfe." 

"All right, the chances are we can get together at 9 o'clock 
and close the deal." 

He had supper and remained all night at my house. Next 
morning we were in town, and by this time I had figured the 
thing out clearly that this was the best chance for me to sell. 
I met Mr. Rolfe in town and he said, "I suppose our deal is all 
right," but he meant the cattle deal. 

I remarked, "Yes that is all O. K." 

This made Mr. Fitzpatrick more anxious to close the deal so 
he proposed to give me $100 as earnest money. He gave me a 
written description of the farm and the conditions of purchase 
and paid me the $100 earnest money, and allowed himself !• 
days to get the deed ready. 

This I said to myself is all right. "Mir. Fitzpatrick I want 

Life of Scott Bond 85 

you to know that I really believe that we could get along as part- 
ners in this farm for forty years, but as you have boys and I 
have boys, after our days, the boys might not get along as well 
as we have. For that cause I think this is the proper thing to 

When the ten days had passed the deed was ready and the 
money paid over. I took the same money and bought seven 
other farms and added to the three hundred acres I had at Madi- 
son. This gave me a large and beautiful farm. These farms 
were fresher and hence far more fertile than the one I had sold 
to Mr. Fitzpatrick. 


At the time of the aforementioned incidents I was living on 
a farm, which I had bought near Forrest City known as the 
Neely fann. It was also known as a fine fruit farm. 
The land being upland was of a poor nature. I bought 
the farm mainly on account of the health of my wife 
fiind children. I paid old man Neely $900 for 120 acres. This 
farm was two and a half miles from my main 'bottom farm. 
After moving on the Neely place and getting straight, looking 
over the farm and finding that the land was far from fertile, I 
decided to sow the whole farm in peas, knowing peas were a 
legume and hence fine to put life in the soil. I excepted several 
small spots that I planted in com. I got a fine stand of peas, and 
looked as if I would make worlds of pea hay. When the peas 
were ripe I took my mower and rake to harvest my hay crop. 
This was the first time I had undertaken to cultivate this class 
of land. I prepared to house the hay and after the hay was cut 
and raked, I only got one-tenth of the amount of hay I counted 
on. I prepared the land that fall and sowed it down in clover. 
I got a fine stand. The clover grew and did well. The next 
year I took two four horse wagons and hauled from the Allen 
fttrm large loads of defective cotton seed. I turned all this 
under and planted the land the next year in com. I made and 
gathered a large com crop that year. I was at that time taking 

86 From Slavery to Wealth 

a paper known as the "Home and Farm." I would usually sit at 
night and read my farm paper and entertain my wife, while she 
was sewing. I read an article, where a party in Illinois had 
claimed that he had gathered 900 bushels of artichokes from one 
acre of land. That did not look reasonable to me at that time. 
I said to my wife : "Listen what a mistake this fellow has made. 
He claims to have gathered 900 bushels of artichokes from one 
acre of land." This seemed impossible to me. 

In the next issue of this paper, I read where another man 
claimed to have raised 1,100 bushels to the acre. This put me at 
a further wonder as to the artichoke crop. I decided to try 
a crop of artichokes. I had a very nice spot of land that I thought 
would suit for this purpose. I prepared it as I would prepare 
land for Irish potatoes, knowing that artichokes were, like the 
Irish potato a tuber. I took a four horse wagon and hauled one 
and a half tons of rotten cotton seed put a big double handful 
every 18 inches apart in the drill, then dropped the artichokes 
between the hills. I cultivated first as I would Irish potatoes. 
The plants grew luxuriantly and were all the way from 8 to 12 
feet tall. 

About the lOth of August I noticed the plants were blooming 
it occurred to me that there must be artichokes on the roots. I 
got my spade and began to dig. I could not find a single arti- 
choke. I took my spade back home and decided within my- 
self that both parties were mistaken when they claimed to have 
grown so many hundreds of bushels to the acre. After a few 
days I went to my lower farm and started picking cotton, and 
was busy as busy could be all that fall gathering and housing my 
cotton crop as usual. 

Just before Christmas I promised my wife that I would be at 
honve on Christmas Eve in order to accompany her to our church 
conference. I was on time according to my promise, helped her 
to get her household affairs straight and the children settled. 
I had bought my wife a beautiful cape. She took the cape, I took 
my overcoat and off we went. In order to take a near route 
we decided to climb the fence and go through the artichoke 
patch. As we had none of the children along and I helping 

Life of Scott Bond 89 


her over the fence, made me recall our old days when we were 
courtdn^r. I remarked to her : 

"Gee whiz wife, you certainly look good under that cape!" 

She said: "Do you think so?" 

"Yes, I have always thought that you looked good." 

By this time we had gotten to the middle of the artichoke 
patch. I grabbed an artichoke stalk and tried to pull it up. 
I made one or two surges and it failed too come, but in bendfng 
it over I found a great number of artichokes attached to the tap 
root. I asked my wife to wait a few minutes. She asked me 
what I was going to do. I told her I would run back and get the 
grubbing hoe and see what is under these artichokes. She said, 
"don't this beat the band? Stop on your way to church to go to 
digging artichokes." 

"All right I will be back in a few minutes." 

I came with my grubbing hoe and went to work. I dug on 
all sides of the stalk, then raised it up. I believe I am safe in 
saying there was a half bushel of artichokes on the roots of this 
stalk. I then noticed that the dirt in the drills, the sides of the 
rows and the middles were all puffed up. One could not stick 
the end of his finger in the ground without touching an arti- 
choke. I found that the whole earth was matted with arti- 
chokes. And really believe that had I had a full acre in and 
could have gathered all the artichokes, I would have gotten at 
least 1,500 bushels of artichokes. 

I told my wife that now I could see that those people had told 
the truth when they said they had gathered 900 and 1100 bush- 
els to the acre. 

When I returned from church, I at once turned my hogs into 
the artichoke patch. I then climbed up on the fence and took a 
seat to watch the hogs root and crush artichokes. I looked around 
and saw my clover had made a success, the little artichoke patch 
had turned out wonderfully. The little poor farm, I said to my- 
self : "Just think of millions and millions of dollars deposited in 
all of these lands both rich and poor soils. And just to think 
how easy this money could be obtained if one would think right 
«nd bustle.'' 

90 From Slavery to Wealth 


He said to the writer : 

The first time I ever undertook to make a crop for myself arid 
manage it, I had au experience that has been a lesson to me all 
through life. 

I did not own a horse but my aunt owned a little pony and 
:she loaned him to me. 

I secured a piece of land. I had no money to start with. 

I sold a gold ring for which I had swapped a pig, for $5.00. 
With this I bought twenty pounds of meat and three busheLs of 

I prepared the land and planted it. I then secured a trot line 
and set it. I would feed my horse as soon as I got up in the morn- 
ing. Then I woUld run my trotline, take off the fish and re-bait 
the hooks. This task would be completed before sun-up. I 
would put the fish in a slatted box in the river. At noon when I 
came from the field I would go through the same process. In 
the evening this would be repeated. By Saturday I would have a 
nice lot of fish. These I would take out and sell. 

I was too small to fill my sacks and put them on my horse, so 
I got two cotton seed bags and fastened them together. I put one 
fish in each bag and threw them across my saddle. I would then 
put a fish in one bag and go around my horse and put one in the 
other bag, continuing in this way until I had all my horse could 
carry. I would lead him along the road and dispose of my fish. 

Sometimes a customer would have no money and would swap me 
eggs for fish. Another would give mc a chicken for a fish. These 
I would leave until on my return home. Many of ray neighbors 
passing along the road on the way home from town would trade 
mc a piece of meat for a fish. I never refused a trade. Meat 
then selling for Iwenty-two and twenty-three cents a pound, in 
this way, when I reached home on Saturday night, I would have 
enough meat, eggs and chickens to do my aunt's family for a 
week or two; besides some little money to pay the blacksmith and 
buy other things. 

Times were very hard that year. Com sold for $1.75 a bushel. 

Life of Scott Bond 93 

There had been a drought, and everything was literally parched. 
Hence meat and everything else was unusually high. 

A quart of com was my pony's noon feed. While he was eat- 
ing I made it my business to keep the chickens away and pick 
the grains from the cracks with a little stick, that he should get 
every grain. 

I made and gathered the crop without making a cent of debt ; 
paid my rent and cleared $200.00 in money. 


The year I bought the Allen farm, Mr. Fitzpatrick and 
myself in partnership, and knowing that we had to build houses 
with brick chimneys, these brick had to be bought and hauled 
eighteen or nineteen miles, which would make the hauling cost 
as much as the brick. So I decided to bum a brick kiln on that 
farm. Mr. Fitzpatrick refused to do so, claiming that the soil 
would not make brick, and furthermore he was not willing to 
risk his money on my judgment in burning brick. 

"Now this is all right Mr. Fitzpatrick, but this will not change 
my decision. I intend to make and bum this kiln at my own 
expense. When they are burned and proved to be 0. K. I ex- 
pect to charge Fitzpatrick and Bond the customary price for 
the brick at the kiln plus what the hauling would be from For- 
rest City, which will be about $18.00 per M. I really believe 
Mr. Fitzpatrick that if soil will make brick for one man, with 
the same precaution and attention, it will make brick for the 
other man. There are signs of brick that were burned on that 
farm forty years ago and they are as fine brick as I ever saw. 

With the experience I have as a brick man now, I am sure I 
can make and bum as good brick as anybody. So I bought my 
wheelbarrows, sent down to my home place and got my old brick 
molds, wrote to Kerr Station again for Mr. Brown. I did not 
hire Mr. Brown, because I did not understand the brick business 
myself. It was because I had so much other business to look 
after that it was impossible for me to be there at all times. 

I learned one thing when I was quite young, and that was, at 
anjr time when a black man applied art and skill to things with 

94 From Slavery to Wealth 

proper precaution, he would get the same results that a white 
man could get. I have found this to be true all along the lane 
of time. 

We made and burned 125,000 brick. Mr. Fitzpatrick came 
up just as we were ready to fire the kiln, and said: "You may 
charge me up with one-half of all these expenses. I see that 
you are a better brick man than I had any idea that you were." 

**No, Mr. PMtzpatrick you can't afford to trust your money 
against my judgment, so I have decided to take all the risk and 
keep all the profits." 

**Yes, but I have other farms joining this farm on which I 
will need a large number of brick." 

"Yes, you are right about that, but that will just make my 
profit the larger." 

Of course all this was said in a joking way, because I felt that 
I had already been paid. Whenever I could strike a man and 
surprise him as to my ability, I always felt that that alone was 
big pay. We completed our kiln, got a fine bum and Mr. Fitz- 
patrick said the brick was as* good as he had ever seen burned. 
We repaired all the old chimneys on the place and put up chim- 
neys to fourteen new houses. Furnished Mr. Fitzpatrick all 
the brick he needed for his other places and had a few to sell the 

Life of Scott Bond 97 


At this time opportunity had presented itself by which I would 
buy back the old home place, situated on an eminence on the 
east side of Crowley's Ridge, overlooking Madison ; giving a fine 
view of the St. Francis river and the Rock Island R. R., a nice 
dry healthy place surrounded by a nice garden and orchard. 
This was the second place I had ever bought. I paid $975.00 
for it. This was deeded to my wife. A party came to see me 
and wanted to buy the place. I told him it belonged to my wife 
and I had promised her I would never ask her to sell it. The 
man offered me $1,150 for the place. 

Wife heard of this conversation and said to me: "I would be 
glad if you would sell the place as I want to be with you every 
day in the week and I will have you to move me down on the 
farm with you." 

I sold the place for $1,150 and moved my wife and children 
on to the river farm. We soon found that this was not healthy 
for either my wife or children. This compelled me to buy the 
Neely farm in order to conserve their health. 

The man to whom I had sold was a white man and unfortu- 
nately for him he had gotten into trouble and was in jail. This 
man sent his brother-in-law to me to sell the old farm back to me. 
"I said to the gentleman, I own the Neely farm which is about 120 
acres and that is enough grave yard land for one man to own. 
I don't think I really need the old farm back. The gentleman 
came back the next day and told me that his brother-in-law was 
in jail and in trouble and was compelled to raise some money, 
and if I would give him $550 that he and his wife would deed 
me the farm. I said : "I will let you know tomorrow morning. 
We were then living on the Neely farm. I talked the matter 
over that night with my wife and asked her what she thought of 
the trade. She said : "It is all up to you." 

"Wife I believe it is a good bargain that will put us back on 
our old home place one and a half miles closer to our farms in 
the bottom, which will be much more convenient all the way 
round, as we will be able to stand on our porch and view our 

98 From Slavery to Wealth 

many farms in the bottoms, and we will really be making money 
in the deal. We are getting 'back a place that we got $1,150 for, 
for $550, and it really suits us better than the farm we are now 
living on. 

The next morning the gentleman was on hand. I told him 
all right, I will pay you the $550 as soon as you make me a deed 
to the place. This seemed to please him very much. The deed 
was soon prepared and the money paid over. 

I then went to work and had the house rebuilt, gardens and 
bam repaired, set out new orchard and today it is a lovely old 
farm and we have named it "Cedar Hill." 

In the summer time wife and I often sit on the front porch 
and view the lovely landscape, stretched out before us to the 
east with the beautiful St. Francis river flowing like a silver rib- 
bon for miles through the valley at our feet, the mountainous, 
verdure clad hills to the north, with our sheep, our pigs, our 
chickens, our cattle and other domestic animals about the place. 
Then look back over the road we have traveled and think of the 
time when as a boy I worked on this same place for 20 cents a 
day, ate what I could get in the kitchen and we sing the song, 
"Home, home, sweet home." 

It must be remembered that all this time, my children, who 
were large enough were in school, the older ones in college. 
When they left home for college at Nashville, Tenn., we were 
living on the Neely farm. The houses on that place were typical 
southern cabins built of logs with open shutters for windows, the 
cracks chincked with puncheons and mud. When the boys re- 
turned from school, the following spring, they had not been in- 
formed of me buying back the McMurry place and started from 
the depot to the Neely farm, from which they left when going 
to Nashville. They met a man named Dick Sanford who had 
been working for me for years. 

Dick said: "Hello boys, where are you going? You are going 
the wrong way. Your pa has bought back the old McMurry 
farm and has had all th^ old buildings torn down, rebuilt and 
painted and one would hardly know the old place." 

Life of Scott Bond 101 

The boys said: "This is really too good to be true, but as it 
is not far out of our way we will go by and see." 

When they got in sight of the old home, Waverly looked and 
saw the house and said to Theo : "This really can't be true. See 
how pretty that house looks." 

Theo said : "Yes, I see one of ma's quilts hanging in the back 

"They both walked up to the front gate and stopped and looked 
with amazement. This is true because there is ma singing, back 
in the kitchen. 

As they stepped on the porch, one said, yes, it is all right for 
I see the crib that we were all rocked in. They found their 
baby brother lying in the crib asleep. Theo picked up the baby. 
This awakened him and he began to cry. Wife ran to see what 
was the matter with the baby and behold there stood Theo and 
Waverly. Howdy mamma, howdy, howdy. How is pa and the 
rest of the children? 

"Ma, what in the world has happened? How did pa manage 
to get the old home place back ?" 

She replied : "I don't know. You know your pa is all the way 
around a great man and he has done many things that have been 
a mystery to me." 

"Ma we are really proud to be back to our old home and see it 
so beautifully fixed up. I don't see why pa did not write and 
tell us of all these things that were happening." 

"Your pa has always had a way of doing things in order to 
surprise us." 

We had supper unusually early that evening and then I asked 
the children hundreds of things about college, their teachers and 
the progress of the school. 

102 From Slavery to Wealth 


I had bought out a Arm known as the Madison Mercantile Co., 
the same year, all of this unknown to the children. Next morn- 
ing bright and early we had breakfast and I said boys let's walk 
down town. I had not yet told them that we owned a store in 
town. We got into Madison and walked into the store. They 
saw their uncle in the store acting as though he was general 
manager, and also a young man named Ben Posey, who had been 
with me for years. These two were in charge of the store. 
This was the first and only Negro store that had ever been in 
Madison. The boys could not really understand what all this 
meant. They came to me and said quietly : "Pa whose store is 

"Why it is our store, yours and mine. It is ours. Not one 
but all of us." 

This was another great surprise to the boys. It was not long 
until they were behind the counters and really all over the store. 
They finally said to me, "Pa is this true? Is this really our 

"It is true. It is really our store. Now if we will all take 
care of this store and look after things it will remain our store. 
If we don't do that, it will eventually belong to some one else. 
You can see now boys there is work for all of us to do." 

I had at that time 24 or 25 families on my different farms, but 
had not attempted to furnish the families out of my store. 
The stock at this time only amounted to $700 or $800. 

Waverly said : "Pa this is all 0. K., we can put in $8,000 or 
$10,000 stock and then we will be able to furnish all the people 
on our many farms." 

"No son that won't do now. We must first learn how to buy 
goods and then learn how to sell goods, and also learn how to 
keep books. Your pa can correct a mistake of seven or eight 
cents easier than he can correct a mistake of $8,000 or $10,000." 

"Pa, there is no excuse for mistakes." 

"No son you are right. There is no excuse for mistakes, but 
there have always been mistakes made. 

Life of Scott Bond 105 

"You say that you have taken bookkeeping, but you will soon 
find out that taking bookkeeping is one thing and keeping 
books is another." 

We dragged along in the mercantile business the next year 
until the boys finished up at college and came home. It was 
then we began to furnish the people on our different farms, and 
went more extensively into the mercantile business. I said 
then and there to the boys now for mistakes and vexation. 

"The first thing that must be understood is this; our intention 
is to be honest and upright with all with whom we come in con- 
tack, in a business way. When you weigh a man out a pound of 
anything be sure to give him full 16 ounces. Then you must 
collect for 16 ounces. We are all comparatively green in the 
meicantile business and we must make as few mistakes as 
possible. I was sure mistakes would be made, although the boys 
said there was no excuse for mistakes and that they were not 
going to make any. I was uneducated so far as letters and figures 
were concerned, yet I was educated so far as books were con- 
cerned. I began to keep up with the books and could see mis- 
takes being made every day, and would call the boy and say: 
"How is this?'' He knowing that I was uneducated would al- 
ways have a nice way covering his mistake by saying thus and 
so is the case. Yet no argument he could produce would change 
my decision. And I would say to him son I told you these things 
would happen. 

He would say in a careless way, "Pa, this is all right, but I 
just failed to charge John and credit Harry." 

"Son that is right, that is what we call a mistake." 

That spring we bought our dry goods from Wm. R. Moore 
and Co., a large wholesale house in Memphis. These goods were 
bought on 30 and 60 days time, which was considered cash. In 
30 days one-half of the bill was due. This was the 30 day goods. 

The boy said : "Pa we owe Wm. R. Moore and Co., a bill of $900 
and over." 

"All right son write him a check for it and I will sign it." 

He wrote the check and laid it on the desk for my signature, 
the same was mailed to Wm. R. Moore and Co., He gave that 

106 From Slavery to Wealth 

firm debit for this check. At the end of 30 days more the bal- 
ance was due. He called my attention to this saying the other 
bill we owe Wm. R. Moore is due. I said : "All right son, turn 
and see what you owe them in full. He turned to the account 
and saw that it was something over $1,800. He sat down and 
wrote a check for the whole $1,800 put it on the desk for my 
signature. This was early in the morning and my horse was 
standing saddled at the door and I was in a rush to get to my 
farm. I grabbed the pen and signed the check without viewing 
the same. Some time in the day while I was down on the potato 
farm it occurred to me that the boy might have made a mistake 
and wrote a check for the whole amount. I was on my way 
home, went by the store got down and went in. I turned to 
Wm. R. Moore's account and then reached and got the check book. 
I soon saw that he had paid Wm. R. Moore and Co., $900 too 
much. I called the boy and said, look what you have done. You 
have paid Wm. R. Moore and Co., nine hundred and odd 
dollars more than you owed them. Now what do you call this ? 
Is it one of the mistakes that we spoke of so often ? No pa this 
is aft oversight." 

I found this was the hardest hill I had to pull. That was to 
get the boy to agree that these were mistakes. He would al- 
ways disagree with me and say these were not mistakes. 

"Well you let it be what it may, I know we are out of over 
$900 that we really ought to have." 

I could see that the boy was really outdone. I closed the books 
and walked to the door. It was about sun down. The boy 
came to me and said, "Pa what shall we do about that?" 

"Now son, I ought really to ask you. You are the bookkeeper, 
been to college and claimed at the start that there was no excuse 
for mistakes. The thing is for me to ask you what shall we do?" 

"Well," he said, "I don't know what to do." He looked really 

I mounted my horse and went on home, had supper, talked 
for a while to my wife and retired. 

After we had retired, I said wife, "Waverly has made a mis- 
take of $930." 

Life of Scott Bond 109 

She raised up in the bed and said, "He has? How did it hap- 

"He paid one man $930 more than he owed him." 
She jumped up, went to the fire and began to dress. I asked 
her what she was doing. 

"I am putting on my clothes." 

"What for?" 

"I am goino: down to the store." 

"Wdl, what can you do when you get there?" 

"Didn't you say he had made a mistake of $930?" 

"Yes, but how are you going to correct it when you get there ?" 

The fire was burning brightly and she continued to dress. I 

told her to undress and get back into bed. She asked what I was 

going to do about the mistake. I told her I would correct the 

mistake. This satisfied her, she undressed and went to bed 

again. She finally said to me after being in bed for some time : 

'Is not that boy very much worried over the mistake?" 
'He is certainly worried over the mistake." 
Tou get up right now and go down and ease his mind." 
'No, you just let him wallow and worry. I have struggled and 
worried to make the $900 and also to educate him. So now let 
him wrestle and worry to hold it." 

. We finally went to sleep. Next morning as usual my wife was 
up and had breakfast on time and followed me to the front gate 
where I got on my horse put her arms around my neck, kissed 
me and said: "Will you please go by the store and relieve that 
boy's mind this morning?" 

"Yes for your sake, I will do so." 

I arrived at the store, dismounted and walked in. The boy 
said : "Good morning pa." 
"Good morning son." 

I walked up to the desk and said son get a blank sight draft. 
Draw a sight draft on Wm. R. Moore and Co., for the difference 
between what you owed them and what you paid them. 
The boy said, "Pa do you think this will get the $900?" 
"I do not have to think about that I know it." 

110 From Slavery to Wealth 

This looked as though there had been a dark cloud wiped from 
the boy's face. 

This and a good many other things that I have done along 
these lines almost ruined him. Because he thought that no mat- 
ter how difficult the business problem I would be able to s<dve it 
satisfactorily. It really took from him his self-reliance and 
originality and encouraged him to rely upon me rather tiian 
upon himself. ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ * * 

As I have before told you I purchased the business of the 
Madison Mercantile Co., and up to this time had been doing 
business in a rented house. Mr. Walter Gorman who was one of 
the principal owners and also manager of the business at that 
time, met me one morning and insisted on me buying out his 

I said : "No, Mr. Gorman, in the first place I have not the 
ability and am not prepared financially to handle a store." 

He said : "Uncle Scott your boys will be graduated next spring 
and you will have a business prepared and can put them to work 
for you instead of putting them to work for some one else, and 
after you get rated in vne commercial world you will be surprised 
to know how much cheaper you can buy the farming implements 
and supplies you use on your many farms. Besides a man like 
you can not afford to spend thousands of dollars educating chil- 
dren in college and then bring them home and force them to 
take a ten dollar job. I will take an invoice and sell the goods 
at wholesale prices with a discount of 10 per cent which will 
amount to about $550 or $560, and will take as many notes for 
the stock of goods as you want and date them to suit yourself. 

I realized that this would be a nice deal for me and hence I 
agreed to take the store. The stock invoiced $560. It was dis- 
counted 10 per cent of the cost price and when Mr. Gorman went 
to draw the notes he asked how many notes I wanted and how 
I wanted them dated? 

I told him all in one note and make it payable July 10th. 

"Why Uncle Scott you won't be selling any cotton by that 
time. I will extend this note as far ahead as you want it." 

Life of Scott Bond US 

"That is all right, I have a potato crop and I will have it on 
the market by July 10th and will be prepared to take care of the 
note by that time." 

This was like opening the door and entering into mercantile 
business without a dollar in the world. I owned no property in 
Madison at that time and was then paying rent on the house in 
which I was doing business. 

I succeeded in growing and marketing my potato crop. I 
cleared on the crop about $1,800 which I considered a little side 
issue to my other crops. I met the note and paid it promptly 
and had my mind made up that I would go to Memphis and buy 
a fresh stock of gi'oceries and recruit the business. At this time 
I saw an article in our county paper, stating that Scott Bond 
had bought out the Madison Mercantile Co., and gone into the 
mercantile business. 

I met the gentleman with whom I had been doing business 
for 20 years, Mr. Louis Rollwage and Co. He said : 
"I see you have gone into the mercantile business." 
"Yes sir, and what do you think of it?" 
Mr. Rollwage stopped a few minutes and said : 

"Uncle Scott, I believe the right man has struck the right 
thing. I have noticed you for all the many years of our past 
careers. You seem to have the ability to reason from one 
thing to another and you are one of the most considerate men I 
have ever met. For this reason and many others I really be- 
lieve you will be successful in the mercantile business and at any 
time I can serve you in any way I will be more than glad to do so. 

I was somewhat surprised at these remarks, knowing of the 
many thousands of dollars of transactions between us, he being 
a merchant and I a farmer, I really had expected to be advised 
differently, but said, "all right Mr. Rollwage I appreciate your 
kindness along these lines. I shall go to Memphis in the next 
few days in order to try to increase my little stock of groceries. 
I have the money to pay for them but really want you to advise 
me who is best to deal with, as I do not want to go there and 
fall into the hands of thieves, the first dash out of the box." 

114 From Slavery to Wealth 

"I will be more than glad to do so," he replied. "When you 
get ready, let me know and I will go over with you." 

'*! thank you sir. I will certainly appreciate that." . 

The next day or two the porter was handling a keg of powder 
in RoUwage's store and unfortunately this keg by some means 
exploded, and Mr. Rollwage's little son was badly injured. For 
that reason he was unable to go with me. He gave me two 
letters of recommendation, one to Mansfield Drug Co., as all 
little country stores at that time carried a per cent of their 
stock in medicines, and a letter to Messrs. M. Gavan and Co., 
who were large wholesale grocers in Memphis. 

I went into their place of business in Memphis and said, "I 
want to see the boss," and when I was introduced to him, "Mr. 
Gavan, this is Bond from Arkansas." 

''Walk around Mr. Bond and take a seat." 

I walked in and sat down and then he began asking ques- 
tions. It looked to me as though that he was a very large man 
and stuffed full of questions. 

I reached in my pocket and handed him the letter from Mr. 
Rollwage, which he opened and read. He theij said : 

"I see that you are a colored man." 

"No sir, Mr. Gavan, I am proud to say that I am not a colored 
man, but I am a Negro. I am always proud of the word Negro, 
but ashamed of the word colored man." 

Mr. Gavan said : "That is the reverse of what most of the col- 
ored people think and believe, but you are correct in saying what 
you have." 

"You see that door there Mr. Bond?" 

I said "Yes sir," and thought to myself that as we had just 
finished discussing the word colored man and Negro that the 
next would be get out of that door, but to my surprise, Mr. 
Gavan said, from my many years doing business at this place, 
there has never been a man walked in that door who held a bet- 
ter recommendation than I now hold in my hand. 

"Listen what he says:" 'You may sell him anything that he 
may want and as much as he wants and L. Rollwage and Co., will 
be responsible for his transactions.' " 

Life of Scott Bond 117 

"Mr. Bond: There have but few men come to me with this 
Icind of a recommendation since I have been in business. You 
must really be a great man, or this kind of a recommendation 
would never have been handed you." 

"Mr. Gavan, I have always made it a rule to go in the front 
door with everybody with whom I have done business. That is 
to always be honest, tell the truth along all business lines re- 
gardless of results. I have just bought out a little mercantile 
business at Madison. I am over here to buy a fresh stock of 
groceries to fill out our business. I have the money to pay for 
what I expect to buy, but I am surprised at the reputation given 
me by L. Rollwage and Co. Not as to my honesty along business 
lines but as to the ability that Mr. Rollwage has commended me 

Then Mr. Gavan sat down and gave me some of the finest 
instructions I had ever heard fall from a gentleman's lips, relat- 
ing to general business transactions. I had found out long ago 
that such information as he was imparting was of great benefit 
to those who received it and cultivated the spirit it called up. 

To my surprise Mr. Gavan himself waited on me and advised 
me what to buy and how to buy. 

I bought my goods and returned home. I met Mr. Rollwage 
a few days later, and he wanted to know how I got along. I 
told him very nicely but was very much surprised. 

"In what way?" he asked. 

"In the recommendation you gave me to M. Gavan and Co., I 
was not surprised at the information you gave them as to my 
honesty, but was surprised at the confidence you had in my abil- 
ity to buy a stock of goods. 

He said : "In the first place I knew you were all right Uncle 
Scott and in the second place the gentleman to whom I commend- 
ed you I knew would advise you along the right lines." 

"He certainly did and I believe he is one of the greatest men 
of the kind I have ever met." 

118 From Slavery to Wealth 


I want to stop here for a minute and compliment L. Rollwage 
and Co. for the many and really gn^^at things they did for me 
through a long course of years. 

I really felt that I owed them for the education of my children. 
For, several times when my children were oft at school, my 
financial way looked so dark, and gloomy that I felt at many 
times that my finances were at such a low ebb that I would have 
to bring them hoine, and when Mr. Louis Rollwage would find 
this out, he would always say, "Don't stop your children from 
school. If you do you will nip their education in the bud." 

I want you to know for your many years dealing with me you 
have helped me to make my business what it is now, and you 
must feel that as long as L. Rollwage and Co., have two dollars 
one dollar of this is yours. 

I will never forget the time my boy was to graduate from 
Roger Williams University at Nashville, and at the same time the 
Centennial was going on in that city my son Theophilus wrote 
me a very interesting letter stating that he was "to graduate 
and you will not be able to see me graduate here again, and you 
can come now and go back on half fare and also see the Centen- 
nial something you will never see here again, I do think that if 
you can possibly get off it will certainly be the thing for you to 
do. And I will be so proud for you to see me graduate." 

I got this letter while I was in town and blundered over it two- 
or three times and was not able to thoroughly understand the 
meaning of his letter. So while I was in L. Rollwage and Co.'s 
office, he read the letter to me intelligently and explained all its 
points clearly, and said he was sure I would have a nice time. 

1 said : "Mr. Rollwage, you don't think for a minute I am goings 
to Nashville?" 

He said, **I don't see how you can refuse." 

Mrs. Manning, who was a lady of rare culture and refine^ 
ment said : "Why Uncle Scott, what in the world are you living* 
for? The very idea of seeing a boy like Theophilus graduate i& 




Life of Scott Bond 121 

a great thing within itself. He is one of the finest boys I ever 

"In the second place you go and come on half fare." 

"In the third place you will get to see the Centennial, some- 
thing that will not occur there again in 100 years." 

I told Mrs. Manning that what she said was all true, but it had 
taken everj^ dollar that I could rake and scrape to keep my chil- 
dren in school, and the overflow has just come and gone and my 
crops have all been planted and are coming up nicely; I have a 
good stand and all worked out and I am rushed for time to repair 
my fences and to take care of my crop. I have no money to go 
on, nor have I a suit of clothes fit to wear to Nashville. 

Mr. Louis RoUwage said : "Go and fit the best suit of clothes 
you can find in stock, and if they can't be found here go out in 
town and look until you do find one. Now I mean shoes, stock- 
ings, shirt, coat, pants and necktie. And Mrs. Manning hand 
him $65.00 and if you have not got it write him a check for it. 
Now we will make you a present of the suit of clothes out anJ 
out and will charge you with the $65.00 until next fall, without 
interest. If this is not satisfactory we will make you a present 
of the $65.00. Uncle Scott, this will be one of the greatest 
events of your life.'' And so it was. I went to the barber shop 
and got my hair cut and a shave, put on my new suit and lit out 
for Nashville. 

Up to this time I had never seen the inside of a college. 7 
had a fair idea as to how to meet and salute those with whom I 
came in contact. And when I arrived at Roger Williams in 
Nashville, I had the pleasure of meeting all the faculty. Among 
whom were Prof. John Hope and Hon. Wm. Harrison who is now 
a noted lawyer at Oklahoma City, and many young men students* 
from all parts of the United States. 

This was a great happiness to my son, Theophilus. He took 
great pleasure in introducing me to his many friends in the city 
of Nashville and to see the great Centennial, then being in ful' 
swin£f, which was the biggest thing of the kind I had ever seen 
It then occurred to me that I would not have missed this for 

122 From Slavery to Wealth 

The ensuing year I had a chance to buy four lots in the hear*" 
of Madison, and two small buildings on these lots for which J 
paid $500. One of those buildings had been used by Mr. Devine 
as a small store, I added another store on this building 38 feet 
wide and 40 feet long. I then moved out of the rented store into 
my own building in order to stop paying rent. I enlarged my 
stock and then began to furnish my many farms. 

It was then that I learned the difference between buying 
farming implements from wholesale dealers and jobbers. My 
mercantile business at that time seemed to be a perfect success. 
Our trade was made up from all classes, both white and black. 
My object was to keep a clean house, morally and otherwise. By 
so doing I demanded the trade of the best people of the com- 
munity. In a short time I was recognized by all my competitors 
as a live wire in the mercantile business. 


Perhaps the wonderful increase in the value of land in the St 
Francis basin can be shown in no way better than the following 
story which we will let Scott Bond tell in his own inimitable 

''I bought half of section 12, 320 acres at a tax sale for $16.50. 
I did not know where the land was nor what I had bought. 
Three or four months after I had bought the land a gentleman 
came to see me for the purpose of purchasing the land. I asked 
him what he was willing to pay for it. He said he thought 
$125.00 a good price. 

"That was so much more than I had paid for it that I began to 
wonder just what I had bought. 

"I told the man that I could not say on the spur of the moment 
what I would take for it, that I would go in a few days and view 
the land and would then likely be in position to give him an an- 

"iAj few weeks later another white man asked what I would 
take for the land." 

*■■; ■ • 




Wr^^'''^- |J 



t ' 





Life of Scott Bond 125 

"I asked him what he really thought the land to be worth." 

"He said: 'Uncle Scott, I think $250 would be a good price for 
it.' This put me to thinking. I had as yet never seen the land, 
now if the first gentleman had said, "I will give you $125 or $150 
for the whole thing, "I am sure I would have closed out with 
him. I paused a few minutes and said to myself: 'I certainly 
have bought a piece of land that is worth something.' " 

**I informed the gentleman I did not care to sell it. I was 
very busy farming and did not, for the time being pay any more 
attention to the land." 

"An overflow came the next year. There was a noted timber 
man in this part of the country at that time named Capt. Steams. 
He came and said he would like to cut some timber in my brake. 
He offered me $1.00 per 1,000 feet stumpage. I agreed to this. 
He put three men in the brake while the overflow was on when 
the timber was cut and floated out, and the water had fallen, 
Capt. Stearns paid me $225 for stumpage. I had as yet never 
seen the land. 

"Two years later came another overflow, Capt. Stearns said 
to me: 'I want to make you some more money.* " 

"I agreed that year, he cut and floated out timber. My 
stumpage came to $350. 

"Three years later we had another overflow. I happened to 
meet Capt. Steams on the train. He came and sat in the seat 
with me and said to me : There is going to be another big water 
a. id I hope to make you some more money.' 

"I replied, *No Captain, I think I will go and cut the timber 
myself.' " 

He asked me if I had ever cut and floated any timber? 

"No sir, and I never saw a man stand in a boat and cut a tree 
in my life, and never saw a log floated in the brake." 

"Capt. Steams said : 'Now I have made money for you from 
time to time, right along. You are going into the swamps with 
a lot of inexperienced Negroes, and without experience your- 
self, you are going to loose all the money I have made for you 
from time to time and more en top of that. Now^ you can stay 

126 From Slavery to Wealth 

at home and sit down and make $400 or $500 where you are 
going to loose maybe twice that amount.' " 

"Captain, why do you say this, I asked?" 

"Because you don't know how to do it." 

"Well Captain, I asked, how does a man learn to do things?" 

"Go at it and try," he said. 

"Well Captain, that is just what I am going to do; go at it and 
try. But if you will give me one experienced man to go along 
with me, I will give you half after all expenses are taken out." 

He refused to do this. So bull dog like, I gripped my nerve, 
went to work got nine dugouts, hired nine men, telegraphed 
for two tents, axes, saws and complete outfit for sawing timber, 
including provisions enough to last a month. 

Among the men that I hired there was one little Negro in the 
bunch named Sambo, who had large experience in cutting and 
rafting timber. When we all had our dugouts packed, I made • 
my own paddle and each fellow followed suit. There was mak- 
ing and preparing spike poles. Each one had his own boat and 
when all were packed and ready to start to the swamp, I called 
the attention of the whole crowd and said, now Sambo, stand up 
on that log. 

"Now boys, said I this little fellow is the captain of the whole 
squad. There shall not be a man in the whole crew who will be 
any more obedient, or honor him, more than I shall do myself. 
I am paying him $3.50 per day, while I am paying the balance of 
you $2.50. Whatever he says, right or wrong must be done by 
all of us. We then pulled out on our long journey to the swamp. 
We camped that night in an old house on the river bank. Next 
morning, Sambo rushed us into the brake. The water had just 
begun to come into the brake. Sambo took us all and said he 
wanted ten of the largest trees felled and sawed off 60 and 70 
feet long. The water was coming in the brake so fast that we 
were compelled to use the stumps of the trees we had cut, to 
put our bedding and other camp equipage on to keep them dr>^ 
By this time we had water enough to float the logs we had cut. 
Sambo gave Orders to get them together as quickly as possible. 
At the same time we put hands to cutting splicing. i>y at*i iv all 
these were cribbed and toggled together, as we could not see to do 

life of Scott Bond 129 

ansrthing else, we put our camp equipage and the dugouts on the 
raft and set up our cook stove. We managed to get supper and 
each fellow slept in his own dugout, all of which were placed 
side by side. The tent cloth was used as one quilt to cover the 
whole. lAll these orders were given by Sambo the great. 

"After supper, I looked around and said to myself, "This is 
one of the greatest events of my life.' " 

"We had a iolly crowd. All the work appeared to be perfect 
fun to me and the crew." 

"We saw when we went to bed that the water was rising 
rapidly. Next morning, when we awakened, we found our new 
home on the raft was five feet higher than when we went to 
bed. We were able to float our raft over the stumps we had 
cut the day before. We had breakfast on time and by 10 o'clock 
you could hear trees falling in all directions. 

Sambo's orders were for every cutter to be at least 100 yards 
from any other, in order to prevent accidents from falling 
timber and limbs. When we went to dinner we found the cook 
ready. Navy beans, onions, potatoes, bread and meat. I looked 
at my little band and realized the fact Sambo was capable — fully 
able to manage the situation, but for myself I caught it just after 

"We had about 15 logs ready for floating. Sambo had given 
all the boys spike poles and showed them how to float logs. He 
said to me : 'Mr. Bond, get your dugout and spike pole and come 
with me.' " 

Recognizing him as our captain, I obeyed at once. He took 
me up to a fine cypress log and instructed me to get it out and 
put it in the float road. 

"I mounted the log and in a few seconds it began to turn. 
I was at that time a good swimmer and very active so I thought 
'Now Mr. log, I can move as fast as you can, but the faster I 
tramped the log, the more speed I imparted to its revolutions. 
All the while Captain Sambo stood looking at me. By this 
time the log was turning so fast that I was compelled to coon- 
jine as they say, to keep up with it. My Captain Sambo said : 
'You will go directly, and just then I went off into the water. I 

180 From Slavery to Wealth 

swam back to the side of my log. Sambo was still laughing. 
I tried to climb on, but the harder I tried, the faster the log 
would turti. Captain Sambo still watched and laughed. Fin- 
ally he said : ^Why don't you go to the end of the log.' " I did 
this and was soon riding the log again. I had learned two things, 
first how to fall off the log, and second how to get back on it. 

The log lay north and south. As I had my face turned to the 
west when I was on it before, I thought I would correct my 
former error by facing the east. But it was the same old thing. 
The log began to turn and I was soon overboard again. I soon 
regained my position on the log. I was still turning to the right 
Captain Sambo said, 'Turn your face up and down the log. Now 
bear down on the left foot.' The log soon stopped turning to 
the right and started back the other way. *Now bear down on 
the right foot,' cried Sambo. Then I saw that I had learned how 
to keep the log from turning. 'I said, 'give me my spike pole 
Sam, I am off and gone.' I soon found myself the second best 
floater in the crowd. 

Captain Sambo did not brag on me much, so I did not rest 
until I became the best. I found out afterwards that he had 
taken all the other boys through this same process. 

After supper that night we were discussing the events of the 
day's work, I asked Sambo : "Why don't you tell a fellow how to 
do these things and save some of the trips overboard?" 

He laughingly replied: "It is always better to show a fellow 
than to tell him." 

The water did not stay up long that time, but in eleven days 
we cut and floated into the river 248,000 feet of timber and re- 
ceived for the same after paying all expenses $1,785 which was 
the quickest money that I had ever made in my life up to that 
time. I sold this timber to Captain Steams. 

At that time I knew nothing of the local prices for timber, so 
I took the first price that Captain Steams offered me. I learned 
afterwards, that I could have gotten $2,785 for the same timber. 
That is all right however for we all felt that we had gotten 
$500 worth of fun apiece; and I thought the experience gained 

Life of Scott Bond 


was more than the money I had made. Since that time I have 
floated logs from this same brake. I sold Mr. John Mosley, who 
is now my neighbor, something like $2,000 worth of white oak 
timber off of this same piece of land. I afterwards built a saw 
mill and sawed about $2,000 worth of gum, cotton wood, etc., I 
received $400 for the hickory and there is still only 40 acres of 
the land in cultivation. Today I have a standing offer of $50 
per acre for the same 320 acres for which I paid $16.50 at a tax 
sale and for which I refused $125.00 and $250.00." 

The above story, quoted in the words of Mr. Bond, is a re- 
minder that the resources of Arkansas are hardly scratched. 
There are still standing in different parts of the state vast tracts 
of virgin timber, awaiting the woodman's ax, coal, kaolin, 
bauxite, oil, gas, diamonds and other minerals are to be found 
in abundance. The streams and lakes are teaming with fish. 
Rich pearls are found in great numbers in the rivers. The 
soil is unsurpassed in fertility, and fortunes await the energy 
and thrift of the husbandman. The south and especially 
Arkansas is the best place in the world for the poor man. Hence 
as the Negro is the poorest man in the world, it is the best place 
for him. 

Working for Nothing. 

"At one time during the rainy season in the early years of my' 
career/ ' said Mr. Bond, **I was share cropping with a man nainoci 
Route, who was managing a farm on which I lived. He came by 
my house one day with his team and wagon. I got on the wagon 
with him. He asked me where I was going. I replied, *I am go- 
ing wherever you are going/ He srtid, I am going to haul rails.' 

I replied, **I am going, too.'' 

I worked with him, making a tri]) about with him all day lon^. 
The next morning he came along bright and early and I bounced 
on his wagon, lie stoppe 1 his team and said, *' Scott, I am really 
glad to have you with me to liclp haul rails but I am not able V> 
pay you and I don't want you to work unless I could see wher : 
I could get the monoy to pay you." 

I told him that was all right. I was not charging him anythii^g 
for my work. 1 was glad to be with him. The fence would hel} 
to protect the crop 1 expected to make with him. 

This white man was cultured and refined and we kept up a 
conversation about farming. He was very entertaining and I 
x'.onld get something out of every subject about which he talked. 
At the beginning of the next day I found it dry enough to plow, 
and so I went to mv field. 

A few days later it rained again and as the wagon came by 1 
jumped on ready for another haul of rails. Mr. Route stopped his 
wagon and said he was really glad to have my work, that I was 
good company and he liked to have me with him; but as he could 
not pay, he did not know how he could pay me, and for that reason 
he would rather that I did not work. 

I told him that was all right. That I had rather be working 

with him than to be out fishing and hunting. I really enjoyed 

being with him. 

life of Scott Bond 135 

We completed the fence and when the crops were all made, I 
had no wagon and team of my own. When it came to getting my 
wood and hauling my corn, Mr. Route voluntarily loaned me his 
team and wagon to haul my wood, my com and my cotton, and 
did not charge me for their \ise. I thus received at least $5.00 
per day for every day that I helped haul rails. I found out from 
this that one who works willingly to help his neighbor for ac- 
commodation, often gets more than the man who is always particu- 
lar about how much he will receive for his day's work. 

I should like to impress this thought: K one will get the job 
and master the situation, the salary will always come in double- 
fold. Hence, in working for nothing in this way, we are generally 
gaining most. 


Mr. Bond tells this excellent **Bcar Story." 

**A year after the foregoing incident I had a new experience. 
I had never seen a wild bear. My com was planted on black, 
sandy loam land. It was being destroyed and torn down by 
something, I did not know what. The ground was so loose I could 
not tell from the footprints whether it was horse, mule, cow or 
what, that was doing the damage. The land was very rich. There 
were several stumps standing about. I thought it was ceons that 
were destroying my com. One moonlit night I took my gun and 
seated myself on the fence alongside the field. There was a slight 
breeze stirring the blades of com. I thought I heard a coon that 
had climbed up on a stalk of corn and broke it down. I slipped 
oflf the fence, cocked my gun and stooped » looking beneath the 
blades of corn I saw one of these stumps within fifty feet of me. 
I squatted, looking for the coon, and all at once what I thought 
was a black stump dropped down and I never heard such running 
and threshing in my life. When I realized it was a bear, I was 
really so weak I could hardly lower the hammer of my gun. I 
straightened up and I heard another bear running. When they 
reached the fence on the far side of the field they tore down the 

136 From Slavery to Wealth 

whole side of the fence getting out of the field. Prom this I learn- 
ed that it was Mr. Bear that was devouring my com. 

The next day I saddled my horse and went across the river 
about seven miles to Mr. Patterson, the great bear hunter, 
who had a fine pack of hounds. 

Mr. Patterson said it would be two or three days before the 
bear would return to my field, and that he would be over to my 
place in a day or so, and stay over-night; and strike the bear's traif 
before day. 

According to his promise he came. About two hours before day, 
the bear-hunter asked me if I knew the exact place where the 
bears crossed the slough. I told him I did. He sent another man 
with me, telling us to get down next to the water and he would 
take his dogs into the field, and when the bear came to the water 
we could shoot him as he swam across. "We started in a skift*, 
but got hung on a snag. "When we got to the appointed place 
the bear was already in the lake. "We made three shots at him 
without apparent effect. The hounds followed the bear across 
and in a few minutes there was as sweet music as I ever heard, from 
a chorus of dogs. They chased the bear three and a half miles to 
tiie St. Francis River and across it. They overhauled bruin 
about ten o'clock and captured him about seven miles from my 

Mr. Patterson said the bear would tip the scales at 500 pounds. 

I did not have the pleasure of helping to capture the bear, bu; 
1 certainly had my fill of him at the dinner table. I learned the 
excellency of bear meat and that one could not possibly eat 
enough to hurt himself. 

Mr, Patterson was broadly known as the **bear chaser'' of the 
St. Francis bottoms, not only took pleasure in bear hunting, but 
also made plenty of money. 

He usually killed from, fifty to seventy-five every winter. The 
whole St. Francis basin was at that time full of all kinds of game. 
Wild pigeons were so numerous that they would darken the sky 
when they passed. No oak or walnut had been cut, heince mast 
would be found washed up in enormous piles along the streams. 

It is hard to realize that although a few years ago countless mil- 






^^^^^^^K^ '' ' ^ 




Life of Scott Bond 139 

lions of pigeons would sweep north in the spring and southward 
in the autumn in their annual migrations, that not a single specimen 
is alive today, the last having died in captivity a few years since in 
the zoological garden in Cincinnati. 


Mr. Bond relates this story of refusing an oiter of employment 
on the ground that he could make more working for himself: 

"Some years after I had become the owner of two farms, one 
of which I called my home place, Mr. W. S. Graham, an aristocratic 
southern bom gentleman, who owned a farm of some two thousand 
acres across the road from my farm, had been having a great deal 
of trouble in getting a suitable agent or foreman to handle his 
farm. It happened that every one he hired, was short one way or 
another. If they were good farmers they would not be able to 
handle labor. 

Mr. Graham was a cousin to my mistress. 

Before the war when lie would visit her, he would someti.nejj 
go hunting and take me along to carry the game. He would often, 
on these hunts, divide his lunch with me and was friendly to me 
in every way. 

When he had grown to manhood, knowing my ability a.s h 
farmer and m}' capacity for handling labor, came to me one day 
and proposed to hire me to run his farm. He offered me $65.00 
per month and a residence for myself and family, which was ifl5.00 
per month more than he had paid any one else; in addition to 
this, a horse, bridle and saddle. 

I told him that was all right. I could riot ask him to pay me 
more than that, but I thought it was worth more to me to ruu my 
own farm. 

**And you think," said he, *'that you are worth more than 
$780.00 a year!'* 

**No sir; but I think I have earned more than that. Besides, 
what should I. do with my own farmf 

**I inll rent your farm, as it lays alongside of mine, and hire you 
to superintend it as well as my own." 


From Slavery to Wealth 

He tlien got out bis book and pencil and began to figure, say- 
ing, "1 think I can convince you that $780 is more than you can 
make working on your own farm. And what you would get for 
rent and salary would amount to $1,500.00 a year." 

"Tes sir, but I think I earned more than that last year. I will 
get you to figure it out for me." 

, ■'! went into the swampa in February and earned $550.00 cut- 
ting timber. I then planted and gathered a good crop of corn 
and cotton. I sold forty-eight bales of cotton at eight cents 
which amounts to $1,640.00 I made and burned a brick kiln ; net 
profits were $600.00 Yet I have said nothing of the growth of 
my garden and chickens. I was ready at all times to go to my 
wife when she would call me, knowing I was my own boss. 1 
was also in a position to improve my own farms doring that 

I had no objection to hiring to Mr, Graham if I could make more 
money working for him than any one else he had ever hired ; this 
T felt sure I could do. Yet, I could not afford to work for him for 
.$780.00 when I was making $3,000 working for myself." 

Scott Bond Hunts His 


When the writer asked Mr. Bond what he knew of his father, 
lie related this story of his hunt for his father : 

'*My mother died when I was quite small, and had never ex- 
plained to me who was my father. She married my step-father, 
who is still living, when I was eight-een months old. 

•*As I grew older and found that he was only my step-father, 
I began to inquire who was my father, and where he lived. My 
Aunt Martha told me I was bom in Madison County, Mississippi, 
twelve miles from Canton, the county seat, at a little town called 
liivingston. That my father was a man, Wesley Butledge, the 
nephew of Wm. H. Qoodlow. 

** After I had gotten started out in life and had accumulated a lit- 
tle spare money, I thought I would like to visit the place of my birth 
and, if possible, find my father, and if he was in need, help him. 

**In ante-bellum days Mr. Goodlow was a verj- rich man. He 
owned five hundred slaves and thousands of acres of land. 

*'My mother had a large chest, which, in those days, was used 
as a trunk. I had often seen her going through the things in that 
old chest. She would take out her calico dresses, which we people 
called "Sunday Clothes." She would hang them out to air on 
Sundays. Among the things she would take from the chest was 
a pair of little red shoes and a cap, and would say to me: * These 
are the shoes your father gave you.' Being only a child, 1 
thought she referred to my step-father. 

**I was married and we had two children and had rented a large 
farm, and I thought it a good time for this trip. 

**I purchased a nice suit of clothes, then paid a visit to the bar- 
ber and got neatly shaved and trimmed up, and pulled out for 

i\A ) 

142 From Slavery to Wealth 

Canton, Miss., where I arrived at night. The next day was a rainy, 
drizzly day. It was March, but the people were bringing into 
Canton onions, lettuce and other early vegetables. I was surprised 
to see this and thought they were being shipped in from farther 
south. I went to the livery stable the next day and introduced my- 
self to the livery man as Bond from Arkansas. . I told liim I want- 
ed to drive to Livingston, sixteen miles away. The liveryman, 
thinking I was white, said, * All right Mr. Bond, the horse and buggy 
and nigger to drive you will cost you three dollars. ' 

''I told him I w^ould be ready in about thirty minutes; and at 
the appointed time 1 paid him the money and started out for Liv- 

**We drove about two and one half miles and opened a gate to 
the enclosed farm of Mr. Goodlow. The old colored man who was 
driving was as active as a boy, although his hair was as white as 
cotton. This old gentleman took m-e to be a white man, and as 
he had never e £ed me I did not make myself known to him. He 
used these words: 

** * White folks, I have been in the country since I w^as a boy, 
and since that time I saw the man you are going to visit, harness 
up a hundred and fifty mules to be used on this farm. In those 
days the water almost boiled in this country. When you went to 
bed at night j^ou could hear the blood hounds, and in the morning 
when you would wake up, you could hear them running colored 
people. The white folks said the music they made was the sweetest 
music in the world. There was once a runaway slave who had 
been chased at different times for four years. At last a set of pa- 
trolers came in with their dogs and said they were determined to 
•*atch him. They ran him for two days. Once in a while he 
would mislead the dogs and make them double on their tracks and 
he would gain a little rest. Eventually they would again pi^'k up 
the trail and you could hear the hounds as they ran; say, here he 
goes, sing-a-ding: there he goes, sing-a-ding. At last, finding 
that he could not escape, he ran deliberately into a blazing fur« 
nace and was burned to death rather than be caught and suffer 
the tortures that awaited him.* 

Life of Scott Bond 145 

**He regaled me with many other stories of slave life that he 
had witnessed. 

''He told me that many a time he would be so tired from his 
day's work that he would not wake up in the morning until the 
horn blew for work. He would not have time to cook himself 
any bread, and that he would run to the meal bowl and put a hand- 
ful or two of meal in his hat and run with his bridle and catch his 
mule and while the mule was drinking, he would take water aud 
mix the meal. Then when he got to the field he would go to a 
burning log-heap, when the overseer was not looking, and rake a 
place in the ashes and hot embers, put his cake in and cover it. 
Later, when chance permitted, he would take out his ash cake and 
eat it as he plowed. Thus he would work until dinner time. 

''This old man was more than an average man. 

** After telling me many other stories oi: the hardships of the 
slave, he said that after all, the things that looked hardest to him, 
were really blessings in disguise. These hardships had developed 
his self-reliance and resourcefulness, and now that he was a free 
man and a citizen, he could see a benefit, even in the hardships he 
bad undergone. He said that he knew he was a Christian and 
that he was respected by all his neighbors, black and white. 

**This instance is but one of ten thousand, showing that tne 
Negro in his long apprenticeship, has gained in adverse circum- 
stances, that he has wrung victory from oppression. 

**By this time we had reached an elevation. He stopped his 
horse and pointed to a house in the 'distance that looked no larger 
than a cow. He told me that was the house to which we were 

** As the distance lessened, the house proved to be a great mansion 
with beautiful lawns. 

**He stopped in front. I got out, and as I passed up the walk, 
knowing this to be my birth-place, I felt that I was at homo. I 
rang the bell. It was answered by a large gentleman, who had 
a perfect bay window of a stomach. He was so large that he was 
unable to tie and untie his shoes. 

**I said, *I suppose this is Mr. GoodlowT 
' 'Yes; this is Goodlow.' 


146 From Slavery to Wealth 

*'Mr. Goodlow, this is Bond from Arkansas.' 
"^*Come in, Mr. Bond.' " 

•'As I walked into the parlor over elegant brussels carpets, I 
could see myself reflected from the mirrors on either side of the 
hall. The furniture was rare and elegant, and was typical of the 
splendor of the old time southern mansion. I was invited to sit 
down and for the next hour answered a rain of questions about 
" Arkansas. 

**Mr. Goodlow was very much interested in the young state of 

'*At that time wild life in the state had not been much dis- 
turbed. Bears, wolves and panthers were plentiful. Arkansas 
at that time bore the reputation of being a paradise for murderers 
and other criminals fleeing from justice. Hence, Mr. Goodlow was 
interested to learn from me all he could about these things, as well 
as about the climate and country in general. 

** After I had imparted to him all I knew, I was then able to ask 
him a few questions, and began by saying: 

**Mr. Goodlow, can you recollect hiring some slaves from the 
widow Bond's estate in 1852?" 

''To which he replied, *Yes; I remember hiring some slaves 
from the Maben estate. Mrs. Bond was a Miss Maben.' " 

•*I >uppose you are right. Do you remember hiring a man 
named Alex, a woman named Martha and also a bright mulatto 
girl named Ann! Ann was said to be your house servant at tliat 

** *Yo.s,' ho said, 'I remember that very distinct'/.* ' 

'*! proceerlod: 'Ann gave birth to a child while sb«» was your 
servant. It is said that Mr. Rutledge, who was your nephew and 
manager of your farm at that time, was the father of this child. 
It is further said that Mrs. Goodlow dressed the child and called 
it Winfield." 

'* * Yoa are certainly right,' he said. *A11 that is true.' " 

*'I then arose from my chair and, standing erect, said, 'I am the 
kid.' " 

**I was at that time a young man, and from what I felt, and 
others said, I was a very good looking young man. 1 had not 

Life of Scott Bond 141) 

been married a great while, and 1 knew my wife was a judge of 

Mr. Goodlow said, *Wait a minute.' He stepped to the parlor 
door and called Mrs. Goodlow, telling her to come in, he wanted 
lier to see some one. 

According to custom it took Mrs. Goodlow sometime* to 
and make her appearance. 

As she entere;l ]\[r. Goodlow said to hor, *'l)o you I now this 
l»oy sitting hen*?'' ' 

**I got up and put on my best looks. 

** *N();' she r(»i)lied. *Mr. Goo:llow, I have never seen him be- 

**Mrs. Goodl()W was a tyi)ic{il southern matron, and with iier 
wealth of silvery Jiair, was the i)orsonification oi* womanly graze 
and dignity. 

** *Yes you have,' remarked Mr. Goodlow, *You put the fi'st i'tjg 
on him and junncd hiiu Scott Wiiitiehl/ at the tiuK* our son Janie^ 
was a ba))v.* 

^* *Xo, Mr. GooiHow. I do not remember.' '' 

** * Don't you remember Ann, our liousemai;', at the time \Vcs< 
was managing our business?' '' 

*' 'Yes! Yes I' she exclaimed. *I remember now. You aie 
Scott Winfield!' '' 

'*She grasped my hand and said: 'I certainly dressed you anil 
named j'ou Scott Winfield.' 

**It would be impossible to describe the scene that followed tiiis 
greeting. Tears were shed, words were spoken that came from 
tleep down in our hearts. A more touching and sincere greeting 
rarely comes to one in a li fe time. 

**I was most hospitably treated and wa.s urged to stay all night. 
I accepted and was given a nice room. The next day I was shown 
the place where I was born. 

*'Mr. Goodlow accompanied me. lie h^d a inin go into the 
''plunder room" and get out an old chair they used to tie m.* in, 
when my mother was about the diUies in tho hou-^^e. 

**One who does not know the south, can form no conception of 
(he extreme hardshij)s some oi* the slaves had o undergo: the 

150 From Slavery to Wealth 

many peculiar situations that would arise, nor can he have the 
faintest idea of the deep regard, and at times, even real affection 
ihat existed between the master and the favore 1 slave. It i^ a 
reflex for this regard that is the basis of ail the helpful things 
Ihe better class of southoi'n white people are now doing to help 
the Negro better his condition and rise to a higher plane of man- 

The following day 1 found an opportunity to explain to Mr. 
<joodlow, privately, the cause ol' my visit, and to ask the where- 
abouts of my father. 

"'1 told him that prior to the war, there were many people who 
were wealthy. Many of these were greatly impoverished by 
changed conditions. 1 had come to find my father, and if he was 
in need, to help him. 

•*1 was informed by Mr. UoodlcAv that he was very sorry he 
would have to tell me that my father was dead. That he had 
moved to Texas twelve years before, and had died two years later. 
He also informed me that lie had three children living and doing 
hu*5iness in Canton, Miss. 

'*When I was ready to leave, Mr. Goodlow had me driven t3 
Tanton in his nKi*rniHr'ent carriage. I called on the children in 
<'anton and introduced myself as Bond from Arkansas. 1 con- 
gratulated them on their business but did not make myself known 
to them, so that nil they ever knew of me was *Bond from Arkan- 
sas.' '* 

This brin<rs up n thought. Tt has been stated by some careful 
statisticians that there are not. 10,000 pure-blooded Negroes in th^ 
United States. Without accepting or rejecting this estimate, we 
will say that there are enough of that part of our population mixed- 
hlood to ;it least k(»op the ])0t from ^*alling the kettle black, in point 
of moral rectitude. 

A Deal in Peas. 

Mr. Bond tells this story to illustrate why the Negro so often 
fails to get ahead. He says : 

''I have always tried to get my people to look and to think. 
There are many reasons why we do not succeed in accnmulatiDg 
more of this world's goods, one of which the following occure»ic<5 
l«: an example. 

**I hired a man named Gregory to work for me. He related to 
me how at one time he was farming ai^d went to a merchant to 
buy some peas to eat. He paid ten cents a pound for them, 
planted them and gathered two bushels of peas. These he took 
to the merchant from whom he bought the seed and was of- 
fered six cents a pound for them which he refused. He took 
the peas home and fed them to the chickens. 

**I asked him why he did this. Com was only fifty cents a 
bushel. He could have bought two bushels of corn. He could 
have gotten $7.00 for his peas. He could have bought two l)ushels 
of corn for one dollar that would have done his chickens more 
good than the peas, and had $6.00 left. He said he had rather 
lose the peas than to let the merchant have them for less than ten 
cents a pound. 

**I told him that he was unwise; that he had simply bitten off 
his nose to spite his face in trying to spite the other fellow. It 
is just such actions as these, that keeps him a hired man." 


152 From Slavery to Wealth 


''I Avas paying Gregory $25.00 per month and had instructed him 
to cut the undergrowth from a ditch bank. He asked me for an 
axe. I asked him if he did not have an axe at home with which to 
cut fire wood. He admitted that he had, but it was his axe. 

**I told him that was true, but if I was not asl^ing too much that 
axe would do. 

*'nc went to work and cut off the ditch bank nicely and at the 
end of the month he came up for settlement. My son, Theo, who 
was cashier, settled with him for his work. 

**1 asked him if he had been settled with. He answered that he 
had except the pay for the use of his ax. 

'*He said he wanted lit'tv cents for the use of his ax. 

**1 asked him if I understood him to say that the use of his ax 
was worth fiftv cents? 

*'He said to me that was what he wanted. 

"i instructed the cashier to pay him fifty cents and told Greg 
ory that I thought he had made a mistake, as in each year there 
are fifty-two weeks, and the rate T had paid him would maku his 
axe rent for i?2G.OO per year. I further advised him to take this 
for a great lesson; that before many months he would find out 
that his position was all wrong. 

•'Some three weeks later we were running two-hoi-se turning 
plows and finishing breaking a field near Greogory's house at 11 
o'clock one morning. He was living on one of my places and I 
had given him a garden. He called my attention to the time and 
asked to have the team to plow his garden. 

**I granted his request and told him he could get through by 
12 o'clock. I took the other teams and went over in anotlier rield. 

"At one o'clock Mr. Gregory was on time in the field, having 
finished plowing his garden. 

"At the end of the month Gregory came for a settlement. I 
.asked him how much time he had lost in the month. He replied : 

'' ^Two davs.' " 


'*! said to him, I owe you $25.00 and you owe me for two days 
lost time and $7.50. 

'*ne asked me where the $7.50 came in. 

**I told him he lost one hour plowing his garden. 

Life of Scott Bond 


"He as'asd if he understood me to say he owed mc $7.50 for 
plowing bis garden. 

''I informL-d him I considered the money I bad invested ic the 
Diulen, plow and harness and the cost of their feed, that I was 
not charging him in proportion to its cost as much for the use of my 
mules nnd jilow as he had charged me for his ax. 

"i then fold him I would knock off that charge, hut lo remem. 
her I was furnishing him a garden and team and paying him for 
his ;ime. All I wanted was for him to he liberal enough to see 
clearly when he was making charges." 

"The reader of these pages will readily see the uphill task it is 
for a Negro to succeed in large business enterprises, when it it> con- 
sidered that be must compete with white men of experience, edu- 
cation and a thousand years of training, as well as deal with a 
large class of his own race who are as ignorant as himself." 

Settling a Strike. 

Mr. Bond tells ycu in this chapter how he settled a strike: 

**A1I luy experience with giu maelunery had been the old-iash- 
ioned horse-gin. But after reading and some travel, and seeing 
^^hite men handle machinery, I came to the conclusion that I could 
learn to do anything that any other man could do. 

**I bought a twenty Hve horse power outfit, consisting of boiler, 
engine, gin stand and press. The rumor got out over the country 
that 1 was to build a si cam gin. I had numerous applications 
from white men, in different places, to erect the plant for me. My 
answer to them was, '(jentlemen, I am a Negro and a poor man. 
I have not got the money To pay for erecting a plant.' " 

**Well,'' they would say, ** Uncle Scott, it will be of no use to 
you if it is not put up right, nor w-ill it render you efficient service.'* 

1 w^ould say, **Yes, that is correct, but I am going to try to put 
it up myself." 

*'Have you ever had any experience with machinery?" 

**No; this is the first one 1 have ever owned. I have never, so 
far as I can remember, had ray hands on one; though I once saw 
a contractor who got sfeo.OO a day for putting in an outfit of this 
kind. I watched him very closely, and whenever lie wanted to 
put up a building, he would use his level, his square and plumb 
bob. I believe the level, the square and the plumb bob will work 
for me the same as for him.'' 

**I had a tenant on my place named Charley Dilahunty, who 
claimed that he knew how^ to lay foundations and set up engines. 
He agreed to work for me at $1.50 per day. 

"When the machinery arrived, Charley and I started with our 

square, level and plumb bob and erected a plant that ans\vered 

the purpose. 

*"We managed to make the plant pay for itself in two years. 

Life of Scott Bond 157 

'*0n one occasion Charley claimed on Monday morning to be 
sick. I went to the gin, fired up and attempted to run the engine 
myself. I had been watching Charley pretty closely in order to get 
an idea as to how to handle the engine. 

**I raised steam, put on two gauges of water, oiled up and open- 
ed the throttle to start. The engine failed to turn. I closed the 
throttle and examined the engine to the best of my ability. I 
could find nothing wrong. I then turned on the steam slowly until 
I had the throttle wide open; still the engine would not move. I 
closed the throttle and had the boys help me turn the fly wheel 
over. Five men put on all their strength and yet they failed 
to move the fly wheel. 

**T was then at a loss. I did not know what to do. 

"By this time the steam gauge showed up one hundred pounds, 
and the boiler was popping off. 

**I threw open the exhaust, raised the flue door and put on the 
water. I said what in the world do you think is the matter? 

*'I was afraid to take the wrench and go to loosening bolts, for 
fear of loosening the wrong one. 

**The ginner came down to the engine room and said *Mr. Bond, 

I think Charley Dilahunty jammed that engine.' " 
**Why do you think so,?'' I asked. 

^'Ile replied, 'Because he said Saturday night that he did not 
expect that engine to turn any more until he got $2.00 per day 
for his services.' " 

^ * Did Charley tell you this ? " 

**Yes he did!" 

''Would you testify this in open court?" 

**Yes sir, I certainly would." 

*'I was at a loss to know what to do. I walked off and sat down 
on a bench. The more I studied over it, the worse shape I found 
myself in. I called for my horse which was hitched to the fence, 
jumped into my saddle, with the desire to do the wrong thing. I 
went half a mile past Charley's house and a half mile further to 
my own house. 

158 From Slavery to Wealth 

**I grabbed my shotgan and returned to Charley's house. 1 
called. Mary, his wife came to the door. I said : 

*'Mary, where is Charley?" 

**He is iij hcie," she answered. 

**Ishe inthebedr* 

^;No sir.'* 

**Tell him to come out here.'* 

He came. I said to him, *'Come here Charley.'' I opened the 

''Get on up the road to the gin house," I ordered. 

He wanted to go back and get his hat. 

I told him they did not bury men with their hats on. 

*'Up the road he went for about three hundred yards. He then 
stopped and said: *I have not done anything to the engine.' '* 

'*Get on up the road," I commanded. There is no time here 
for apologies." 

When we arrived at the gin, I said to him: **Walk up to the 
door and stop." 

I dismounted, advanced on him with my shotgun in my nands 
and told him to get the wrench and unjam that engine. It he 
did not do it in ten minutes, I would kill him if he was the last man 
on earth. 

He picked up the wTench; made two turns on a certain nut. 

I asked him if the engine was ready for service. 

lie said, *'Yes sir." 

He opened the throttle and the engine moved off nicely. 

I said to him, I look for you to stay here and run this en- 
gine until night." It was about 12 o'clock. Charley said, *'I have 
not had any dinner yot." 

**That is all right,'' I replied. **I guess you will not need any 
dinner after todav." 

Charley weifrhed about 190 pounds. I, a little insignificant Ne- 
gro, weighed about 108 pounds, so T thought it a wise plan to keep 
close company with my shotgun. 

We ginned six bales of cotton after dinner. I weighed the cot- 
ton. At seven o'clock I sent a boy into the engine room to tell 
Charley to blow the whistle for quitting time. 


Life of Scott Bond 


I locked ap the gin and got on my horse. Charley had cooled 
down and was standing at die door of the engine room. He said : 

"Mr. Bond, I want you to forgive me for what I have done." 

"What have you done wrong, Charleyt" 

"I jammed the engine and canscd you to lose half of the day 'a 
work with all the crew." 

"What prompted you to do thatT" 

"I thought I should have more wages — $1.75 a day anyhow." 

""Why did you not walk up to inc like a man and say sot" 

"Well," he replied, "all I can say is I did wrong and I want you 
to forgive me." 

I said to him, "This was your own contract — to help me set up 
the engine and run the gin for the season for a dollar and a half 
a day. Now Charley, I am going to give yon $2.00 per day and 
T want steam at five o'clock every morning from now on." 

We were good friends after that, and all went well." 

Theophilus Bond Learns 

TO Fire. 

Just before the close of the ginning season, Charley was chop- 
ping wood. His ax slipped and he cut his big toe nearly off. 

There I was eighteen miles back in the sticks and had no one 
who knew anything about the boiler or the engine, and was really 
at a 4osa for some one to do this work. My son Theophilus, who 
was eleven years old at that time, had been around the boiler and 
engine rooms to help out, cried out, **Pa, I can handle that en- 

I would not hear to this. I did not even want him to attempt 
to do so. 

He said to me, **Pa, I can put on and take off the inspirator. 
Charley has taught me that the only danger is allowing the water 
to get too low; and that it would always be safe if I kept plenty 
of water. I know how to handle the throttle to start and stop 
the engine." 

**Let me see you put the water on," I said. 

In a moment the inspirator was at work. I then told him to shut 
off the water and start the engine; to be careful and not turn on 
too much steam at once. He did so and the engine moved off 

I said to him, ''Shut it down and come with me. Now son, it 
appears that you know the most dangerous points about the en- 
gine and boiler. I know you are a child, and I cannot expect to 
put a man's work on the shoulders of a child. Here is what I 
want to pump into your head and mine ; the lives of all who work 
about the gin as well as your own, are at stake; and if you should 
iinrortuualoly forget or go to sleep, your aaeglect would cause a 


Life of Scott Bond 165 

ferious disaster. I think you are a wouderful boy; your father's 

"I wish, son, that I had some way to show you how proud I 
would be if you should master the job and make a success of it. 

**lf you have a hundred and tweuty pounds ot steam and stop 
your engine, what would you do?" 

**I would raise the flue doors and put on the water,'* he replied. 

''That is exactly right,'' I said; '*but I would like to know »vhcrb 
you learned all this/' 

He replied that he had been w;itching Charley for the last six 
months, and he had learned by watching him do it. 

I said to him, '*Now son, there is one thing more I want to im- 
press upon you. You arc only a small boy and just eleven yeara 
old. You must not try to handle big sticks of wood. You must 
only handle small sticks of wood and trash, and call Itenry 
when you want big sticks of wood put into the furnace. 1 will 
call you my little engineer and will pay you a salary for operatniq: 
this plant. This will give your father a few hours to attend to 
other things pertaining to the farm.'' 

We then went into the engine room and started up the cotton 
gin. I stuck close to the gin plant that I might be thoroughly 
convinced that he would not neglect his duty. I found he would 
use all necessarj' precautions and that 1 could trust the engine in 
his hands. This made me think that I was a great Negro. That 
I could have my own engine and make my own engineer. 

We ginned equally as many bales as we had been ginning 

T was never a healthy man, even to the present, and in those 
days I suffered a great deal with what was known as the sick 

On one occasion I was riding home with my little enj^ineer be- 
hind me. I remarked to him that I was nearly dead with the sick 

lie said to me, "Pa, that means that you will be in bed all day 
tomorrow. But I will be able to cany on the gin all right and you 
may lie in bed, as you will have to do with the sick headache." 

166 From Slavery to Wealth 

*'No, son/' said T, *'I hope to be better in the morning and get 
up at four o'*:lock to get up steam/' 

He answered: "Pa, that will be unusual, for you generally have 
to lay in bed two or three days when you have these attacks/' 

We arrived at home, put up our horse, fed him, ate supper and 
retired. The pain in my head was so intense that I did not go to 
sleep until after two o'clock. 

I was awakened by the noise of the gin whistle blowing. I 
turned over and found the little engineer was gone. It frightened 
me. I arose, dressed hurriedly, caught my horse, and at topmost 
speed rode for the gin. When I arrived the boy had up steam and 
they were ginning cotton to beat the band. I found everything in 
perfect trim. I had been so badly frightened that I forgot my head- 
ache and when I did think of it, it was gone. 

Theo said, *'Pa, what are you doing here? Why did you not 
stay in bed?" 

I answered him: ''I was so frightened, and thought every 
minute I would hear the boiler blow up." 

The foregoing narrative is given the reader to show one of the 
many tryfng times throuj?!! which Scott Bond passed on the way 
up. It is through such strugjrlcs as these that men are tried: and 
if one passes unscathed, if he triumphs, then indeed is there added 
another name to the truly great. 

True greatness may be attained in one line of work as well as in 
another. It is not the work, Imt the way it is done that counts. 
It is the results obtaincu that make the sum total. 

Life of Scott Bond 16T 


In this chapter we again write of one of Mr. Bond's 6zi>eriences. 
In his own words he says: 

'^I had at one time an acquaintance named John Harris. John 
and I are better acquainted now than we were some years ago. 

Harris had been firing at the Box Factory, one of Madison's in- 
dustries. He came to me and offered to fire my gin for me if I 
\vould give him $1.75 a day, which was twenty -five cents more than 
lie was getting at the box factory. He guaranteed that he would 
give me first-class service. 

''After some consideration I agreed to his proposition and he 
went to work. 

Things went along nicely for some time. Then he asked for 
$2.00 per day. 

I gave it to him. 

The next season Harris insisted that I should give him $2.25 per 
day. I finally agreed to do so. 

We had gotten pretty well along in the ginning season. I was 
rushing the work. Harris demanded a raise. At last I agreed to 
pay him $2.35 per day. I paid him regularly all the time, every 
Saturday night. 

As I was passing from point to point about the gin plant and to 
my store, I met him one day, sixty-five or seventy yards from the 
gin, and asked him what he was doing so far from the engine. 
He informed me that the engine was running all right. I instruct- 
ed him to keep close to his engine, so that should it become neces- 
sary to shut off the steam, he would be at hand. 

Some time later I met him standing in front of my store, one 
hundred and fifty yards away from his engine rooms. I asked 
him what he was doing there. 

He h) formed me that I could see what he was doing. 

I then said to him, "You are out here away from your engine. 
If anything should happen — should some one get caught in the 
machinery, it would bi» rmpossible for you to get there in timt^ to 
be of any service. You sJiall not fire any longer. I will d> tJi6 
work myself.*' 

When I reached the boiler room, I looked around and Harris 

3 68 From Slavery to Wealth 

was right behind me. He said 1 should go back to my office; that 
he would attend to the eugme and fire. 

I said to him, '* You are the man to go to the office and ask the 
bookkeeper to settle with you; then you can look for another 
job." i 

He said he would slay and do the work until I got another man; 
that 1 knew I was not able to handle the heavy w^ood. 

I thought of the great danger to my crew and machinery by 
ha\'ing so careless a man at the engine. I grabbed a shovel and 
ran him out of the boiler room. I replaced him the next morning 
with another man. 

To show what many a colored man has to contend with when 
employing his own race in a place of this kind; Harris had never 
received more than $1.50 per day when firing for the white man, 
and gave him efficient service. I was paying him $2.35 per day 
for indifferent service and consequently much annoyance and 
poor TC!(5Ul.t5. 

Harris went some thirty-five miles away and got another j b 
firing for a white man at a saw mill for $2.00 per day. He worked 
twent^'-five days and applied three times for a settlement. He 
would always be told that the man was not ready for settlement. 

The last time he asked for a settlement, the white man said to 
him : 

**Well, I am ready for a settlement now.'' 

He oi)ened a drawer and came up with a navy six. 

Harris said to him: '^That's all right. You don't owe me any- 

He came back to Madison, dragged around for a few days. I 
gave him his job back at the same salary and he gave me better 
service than he had ever done. 

At the close of the season he came to me and said he wanted to 
go to farming; that he had made up his mind to show me what a 
man could do. 

I owned a farm on the St. Francis River twelve miles below 
Madison. I rented Mr. Harris this farm, sold him twelve head 
of mules and horses and all the wagons and tools necessary to 
operate the (arm. He paid for all this including his store account 
^nd had a bank account over and above all of $1,280. 

^^H ; ^*^. 





,.w;L:; "I -; : . 







Life of Scott Bond 171 


After buying the seven small farms and adding them to 
my main farm, I found that to make permanent improvement it 
would require worlds of brick for chimneys. Unfortunately for me 
I had never been about a brick kiln. I reasoned that I could learn 
to make, kiln and bum brick. I heard that a big kiln was to be 
burned in Forrest City, so when my crops were laid by I went to 
Forrest City, three miles from where I lived, on a Monday morn- 
ing by sun up. I had to cross my sand pit on my way to the brick 
3ard with my wagon and team; so I took my shovel and put on a 
load of sand, which was worth $2.00 a yard in the brick business 
at that time. I wanted to learn all I could about making brick. 
The yard was in charge of one of my old chums, Mr. J. H. Blount. 
When he arrived on the yard he said, '* Hello, Mr. Bond, what are 
you doing here?" 

**I came to work,'' I replied. • 

He said: **Well, I do not need you and I cannot use you. 

I said: **I am going to work anyhow." 

He asked who hired me. I told him, ** Nobody. 

**Well, how do you expect to get your wages f 

**Well, Mr. Blount," I replied, *'that may come around by some 
hook or crook." 

Mr. Blount laughed and said, **That is very cheeky in any man.'' 

It was then about 7:30 o'clock. The man who had contracted 
to be there on time at 7 o'clock with his team to run the mad mill 
had not yet shown up with his team. I had a pair of fine mules 
with me at the time, on the yard, and I asked M'\ 
Blount to let me hitch my team to the mud mill and 
run it until his man got there. There will be no charge what- 
ever, I told him. My object was to learn how to mix mud and mold 
brick ; to learn how long they must lay on the yard before being 
set in the kiln. I kept this all to myself. The man who was to 
come with his team to run the mill did not show up. When we 
quit that night Mr. Blount said to me: **Mr. Bond, you need not 
.orae back tomorrow because I know the other man will be here.'' 



172 From Slavery to Wealth 

I said: **Mr. Blount, that is all right, but this is a free country. 

I will surely be on time tomorrow morning." 

The next morning I was on hand with a load of sand. I un- 
loaded it and hitched my mules to the mud mill and waited the 
arrival of Mr. Blount, the manager. The hands began coming in. 

II r. Blount was with them. He said: ** Hello, Mr. Bond, you oeat 
any man I ever saw. You just walk up and take a job." 

We laughed over this. The whistles blew for work time. I said, 
*'Mr. Blount, may I run this mud mill until your man comes?" 

He laughingly replied: **Yes, if it suits you to do so, but I am 
sure he will be here in a few minutes." 

**That is all right," I said. *'I am ready to give him his job at 
any time he comes for it.'' I learned how to build a mud mill, how 
the- clay was watered and prepared for the molds. I considered 
this in itself big pay. At 6 o'clock in tiie evening I hitched my 
team to my wagon and was ready to drive out, when Mr. Blounx 
i-ame up to the wagon and said, '*Mr. Bond, it really won't be nec- 
essary for you to come back tomorrow, because I am going to write 
a note, put a boy on a mule and send after the man with whom I 
have contracted to do the work you are doing." 

I looked at him, laughed in a jolly way and replied: **A11 right, 
Mr. Blount, I will surely be on hand on time in the morning." 
1 was on hand before 7 o'clock the next morning with another load 
of sand, unloaded and had my mules hitched up to the mud mill. 
That day the proprietor of the brick works came out. He was a 
man who had several large business enterprises. He walked up 
to Mr. Blount, the manager, and held a lengthy conversation with 
him. While I was busy at work I could detect much of the con- 
versation referred to me. In a little while Mr. Gray, the proprie- 
tor, came to the mud mill where I was at work and said: ** Hello, 
Uncle Scott, what are yon dohig here?'' 

**I am sure, Mr. Gray, you are not a blind man, you can see what 
I am doing." 

"But T mean: who hired you here?" 

I replied: **No one." 

*'Well, from whom are you expecting your wages?" 

life of Scott Bond 173 

**I am not looking for any wages. The Lord always maket^* 
tilings right." 

**And you are depending on the Lord for your wages f 

**Yes, sir, certainly. Of course, all good things come from the 

Mr. Gray and myself had, prior to that time, had quite a number 
of business transactions and they had all been as lovely as the 
month of May, so I contijiued to be on hand every day until Sat- 
urday 12 o'clock, when all the crew went to town to the oflSce to 
be paid off. I hitched up my team and instead of going to the of- 
fice I went straight home. I was on hand again Monday morning 
and by this time it had become a custom with me to hitch m^ males 
to the mud mill. When the manager, Mr. Blount, got to the yard, 
he found my mules hitched up to the mud mill. I said to him, 
•'Tour mud mill man lias not yet amved." 

Mr. Blount replied, **No, the boss had advanced him $15 on the 
work three weeks ago and for that reason I was sure he would be 
on hand." 

**Well," I replied, *'Mr. Blount, were I in your place I would have 
been sure he would not have been here, as there are two bad pay- 
iiiasters — the one who pays in advance and the one who never 

The mud mill man never showed up and I continued to work. 
Everything moved along nicely. The following Saturday evening 
at 5 o'clock the crew knocked off and went to town to the oflSce to 
be paid off. I again hitched my team to my wagon and drove 
home as usual. The next morning being Sunday, I went to the 
postoffice for my mail. I got a letter containing a check for $65, 
which I think was really more than I would have gotten had I 
attempted to make a bargam. Here is a lesson, especially to young 
men. It is always best to hunt the job, not the salary. Master 
the job and the salary will surely come and nine times out of ten. 
the amount will be larger than expected. T remaine i on the job 
until the brick kiln was completed and wound up with one hun- 
dred and forty odd dollars in cash. I really know that I had 
gained more than a thousand dollars wortli of information about 
making brick. 

174 From Slavery to Wealth 


Scott Bond set a splendid example for young men, when in 
1877 he was married to Miss Magnolia Nash, and went im- 
mediately to the Allen farm to make a share crop and began 
housekeeping in a little log housa 

Let him tell the story : 

"The first thing we did was to put up our little bed, then we 
looked around to see what was next. Just at this time in walked 
a white lady by the name of Mrs. Albert, she laughed and said : 

"You children are fixing to go to housekeeping." 

"I also laughed" and said, "Yes mam." 

"She looked around a little and asked what we were going to 
do for something to cook in." 

"I looked at wife, and wife looked at me, then we all laughed." 
•*I said: 'I don't know what we will do, Mrs. Albert.' 
"She remarked. If you will come over to my house, I will see 
if I can find something for you." 

"I went over and she gave me a skillet with a piece broken out 
of it and a lid without a rim, and a tea kettle with no top." 

"One may think this a small wedding present, but it was a 
God send to us." 

"We used the tea kettle as a pot, to boil our dinner in and the 
skillet with the lid on to bake our bread. When the bread was 
cooked, wife would take it out and put it up beside the jamb to 
keep warm, while she would fry the meat in the same skillet." 

"We were so happy together that all this was real fun for us." 

"We had as yet no broom to sweep the floor, nor had we a 
wash tub, or rub board." 

"We had to borrow these things from my aunt who was my 
nearest neighbor." 

"My wife usually went to borrow the broom and the wash 
tubs. This after a time became worrisome to our neighbors 
and ourselves." 

"One bright day just as I was starting? to the field my wi^e 
looked me in the face and said: 


Life of Scott Bond 177 

"Will you please go and barrow the tub and rub board for me 
this morning?" 

"When I looked into her eyes, I saw her feelings were against 
continual borrowing." 

I said, "certainly, I will go and get the broom andd rub board." 
I got them for her and remarked : 

"Wife, this looks tough, just hold your light up a few days and 
if the Lord will let me, I will show you a sight." 

"These were the brightest days of my life, I could never tell 
when I had finished a day's work. 

"Time rolled on that year, and wife and I made and gathered 
a bountiful crop. Then we had some money. We discussed the 
situation and decided we would only buy the necessaries of life. 
We had a crib full of com. I swapped my wedding suit for a 
milk cow. When winter had passed and spring come, my 
wife's auntie made her a present of a kitten. A Mr. Mc- 
Cutcheon made me present of a bitch and by that time we had 
two cows, two sows and I had bought a beautiful little filly, 
named her Mattie and gave her to my wife." 

"By that time, Biddie the kitten was grown and here it was, 
Biddie brought kittens, Queen brought puppies, both of the 
sows brought pigs, the ccws were both fresh with young calves. 
I was ploughing for another crop. I ploughed the little filly up 
until Friday night. There came a big rain that night, so Sat- 
urday morning I turned the mare into the field where there was 
a large cane brake, as I knew I could not use her again before 
Monday morning. 

"I told my wife I would go and get Mattie to have her ready 
to plough Monday morning. The cane was very rank and one 
would have to look very closely to find an animal in that thicket. 
I finally espied her and called her to come to me. When I called 
her, the little mare started and up jumped a fine colt. I said, 
'Ain't this luck, turn loose one and find two?" 

"I took them home. Wife and I looked the colt over and talked 
about our new horse. This stopped ploughing for a few days. 

The chimney of the old house in which we lived was con- 
structed of dirt and sticks. It had caught fire and had to be 

178 From Slaveiy to Wealth 

thrown down. My wife had asked me several time if it was not 
time we had it rebuilt. This put me to looking and thinking:. 
Rebuilt it and finished Monday evening and that night our first 
son Waverly T. was bom. I had my hands full. The kittens, 
the puppies, the pigs, the calves, the colt and the wonderful boy. 
About the third day after the baby was born, the granny woman 
came to dress the baby. I had been up, off and on practically all 
night, this made me a little late getting up as it was about day- 
light. I was making up the fire and had not dressed. The boy 
needed dressing and was quite fretful. The granny woman 
•came, and old folks like, did not knock, but shoved the door open 
and walked in. I was later that morning than usual. The 
kittens in the box were crying, the puppies under the house 
were whinning, the pigs had not been fed and as a matter of 
course, the sows and the pigs were squealing. I generally milked 
early, but being late that morning, I had not milked and the 
cows were lowing and the calves bleating and my big son was 
in the bed squaling. 

When the granny woman shoved the door open she exclaimed, 
*'My God! Aint this a sight?" This reminded me of the remark 
I had made to wife: "Hold me a light for a few days and I will 
show you a sight." 

**I found myself standing in the middle of the floor, patting 
my hands and said to wife, 'Listen to what Aunt Eliza says. 
My God! aint this a sight? I told you a fow days ago to hold 
me a light and I would show you a sight.' " 

Wife and I made up our minds that we would letin together 
and march boldly up the path of pro:.):ress, with the hope of be- 
ing able to buy a farm and educate our children. My wife 
furnished me with another boy every ei<ihteen months or there- 
abouts until she had borne me eleven boys in succession r.nd 
nary girl. When my wufe had given me seven boys 1 then made 
a contract with her that if she would give me three more bovs 
I would set her fiee. The mornin<,^ the tenth boy was b-irn, with 
my arms around her PfCk, iibe exclaimed, 'Tlrnik (U)d I am 
free!' My wife was such a good woman she did not sto]) there. 


Life of Scott Bond 181 

but gave me another great boy, which made eleven sons in 

"Here it was, boys, hogs, cows, mules, cotton and corn, peas 
and potatoes, chickens, eggs, milk, butter and pumpkins. We 
have been able from that time to the present practically to live 
on what we raised at home. I was growing financially stronger. 
I took charge of the whole Allen farm, and was raising the meat 
and bread that was consumed by all the hands on the place. 
We would kill and put up every year between ten and twelve 
thousand pounds cf meat and barrels after barrels of lard. We 
grew cane for molasses and in fact produced every thing along 
these lines, needed on the farm. I made it a rule to fill every 
row of corn full of peas at lay by time. This alone almost made 
my meat every year. We grew as much cotton as our neighbors 
or more. Every time I sent my wagons to town I was able to 
send either a load of peas, potatoes or a country ham. Now 
even with 5 cent cotton I was able to put my oldest boys in col- 
lege and keep them there for six years without losing a day. I 
only gave them heme made clothing and underwear. 

"The method of diversification and all the year sales of my 
products put me in position to make a payment on a farm or buy 
a farm every year. 

"I would to God that it were possible for me to pump into my 
colored friends all over the land, how easy it is for any man who 
wants to march boldly up the hill of success. I did not only 
serve God and make money, but I also made it a rule to make 
friends with all with whom I came in contact. I now value the 
friendships I have with all the people both white and black, far 
more than I do the money I have made.'* 

"I not only grew cattle and hogs, but also three or four mule 
colts every year. This enabled me to leplace the old mules as 
they would wear out or die. 

"It was in these days that I learned to experiment in farminp\ 
as I had so much land to work, it was necessary to have crops 
that would come off at different seasons. Besides I soon saw 
that I could not furnish all that land with $250 mules and I 
bought only ?mall ones. When breaking the land two would be 

iC2 From Slavery to Wealth 

used hitched to a large one horse plow. While this was slow 
work the land was broken good and deep. After this they 
would be singled out and each little mule was able to cultivate a 
full crop. It was impossible for my hands to cultivate deep. 
The result was they had to cultivate shallow. That was the 
reason I could make more cotton and com than any of my neigh- 
bors. Necessity not knowledge compelled me to do that which 
years of experience has shown to be the best way to cultivate 
corn, cotton and everything else. 

**That was long before the government started its work coach- 
along these lines, and today with the impediment of poverty re- 
moved, I am still doing what the government experiment stations 
prove to be the proper thing." 

Scott Bond maintains that with fifty years experience in farm- 
ing, the science of agriculture is at the very beginning of its 
development. He says that if he were a twenty year old boy, 
by the time he was fifty years old he would learn something 
about farming and that the mysteries of agriculture like the 
mysteries of the Bible will never all be unfolded to man. 

He is of the belief that he can now take fifty acres and make 
more money with less expense than he ustd t:j make on five 
hundred acres. 

i ' ■ • 

■ — ; •■iv- ■; 

L -. - 


Patterson, the Bear 


At a certain time there came another overflow. This- 
again aroused my ambition for the timber business. I re- 
marked to Capt. Steams, to whom I had been selling my timber^ 
that I was going to buy the north half of section 12 and then I 
would not pay any one 15 cents to insure me $15,000. That 
there was over ^|P00,000 feet of the finest cypress I evier saw in 
that brake. 

Captain Stearns asked me who owned the land. I felt that it 
was no secret, so I told him, thoughtlessly the very things that 
Mr. Patterson the great bear hunter, asked me to reveal to no 
one. Mr. Patterson, being well acquainted with the swamp 
and the overflows and knowing the drift of the currents, when 
the entire bottoms were flooded, said to me : **Come and go with 
me and I will show you just where and how to cut your float 
roads. I have been here for forty years. I have never given 
to any living man the information I am giving you, and would 
not like to have you reveal it to any one." I thoughtlessly told 
Capt. Steams where I intended to cut my float roads. He asked 
me to let him go in partnership with me. I looked and thought 
at once, now it is worth something to be in partnership with 
Captain Steams and I told him all 0. K. I told Capt. Stearns 
who owned the land and what it could be bought for. The 
next summer, after my crop was laid by, I was very busy mold- 
ing and setting brick to bum a brick kiln. A young man, I do 
not now recall his name, came to me and asked to hire my wagon 
and team," I told him I would like to accommodate him 
but I was using my wagons and team every day hauling wood 
to bum a brick kiln. He said he had to have a wagon and team 

184 From Slavery to Wealth 

somewhere, he wanted to move his camping outfit up on section 
12, that he had contracted with Captain Stearns to cut out a float 
road through the south half of section 12 and through the north 
half of the same section. Then and there I remarked to the 
young man: "Sir I own the south half of section 12 and told 
Captain Stearns that I w-as going to buy the north half of sec- 
tion 12. Now I want to know who sent you to me for a team." 
He pleasantly replied : **Captain Steams told me to come to you." 

I asked him how he knew" that Captain Stearns had bought 
the north half of section 12. He replied: "Because he told me 
he had." 

Then I thought of what Mr. Patterson, the great bear hunter 
had told me. Then it occurred to me that Captain Steams 
wanted me to know that he had bought this property. The 
next day, something, I do not remember what, caused me to be 
at Madison. I w-as standing on the front porch of a store house. 
It was a l;i*ight l>eautiful day. It happened that Captain Stearns 
walked right up to where I was standing. He seemed to have 
on his fare ms usual, one of his pleasing smiles. 

I lc?;ked him in the face and tried to return about the same 
pkasant smile, and said: **G(KJ(1 mnrnin.'r Captain Stearns." 
**Why good luoniiiig I'ncle Scott." 

I Icoked him stwiight in the face giving him about the best 
smile I knew licw. 

He said: "Well I saw that you had gone into the l)rick kiln 
business and had ;dso i'.jircea lo go into the gin business, I came 
to the conclusi'.n that you woiild not need the north half of sec- 
tion 12, so I went tlu' other (hiy and b(;ught it and have the deed 
for it." 

*'I said: **You did? C'aptain Stearns you art* one of those 
smooth slick Yankees. Now I don't believe there is a southern 
boin Democrat in all of Kastern Aikansas that would stoop so 
low as to take advantage of a Negro's ignorance as you have 


He saw that 1 was pretty well keyed up, and remar!:ed: "That 
is all right. We wmII still be partners, you own the .-outh half 

Life of Scott Bond 187 

and I own the north half and we will both work tt)gether as 

This of course pacified me. I had up to that time never 
known anything of Captain Stearns but a perfect gentleman 
and he had run for County Clerk on the Republican ticket and 
being a Negro of course I was a Republican, supported him dur- 
ing the campaign, worked and voted for him and had always 
thought that he and I were all 0. K., as we had gone hand in 
hand through the campaign, so I felt good over the matter at 

A few years later came another overflow. I prepared my 
logging and camping outfit. About the time I was ready 
to start, I met Captain Steams. 

He said: "Well, I see you are going to cut more timber." 

I said, "Yes, sir, my aim is to make a killing this time." 

He said, "Now when you get through cutting the timber on 
the south half of section 12 before you begin cutting on the north 
half, let me know." 

I said: "All right." 

This put me to thinking. I finally figured it out that that 
was only a matter of business and everything would work out 
O. K. So I called up my timber crew and lit out for the brake 
and went to work cutting and floating out timber. I cut and 
floated out about 145,000 feet which was about all the first class 
timber I had left on that section. After giving my boys in- 
struction what to do I got into my boat and had to go about 18 
miles before getting to Capt. Steams. I landed at my home 
about 10 o'clock in the night. 

Capt. Steams lived about 300 yards from where I lived. I 
remained all night with my family. My wife had me a warm 
breakfast on the table by 4 o'clock. Then it looked like it was 
raining down pitchforks and it was as dark as dark could be. 
That did not deter me from my journey. I was at Capt. Stearns' 
house about three hours before daylight aroused him up, struck 
a match and said: "Captain Stearns I have cut all the timber 
that had been left on the south half of section 12 and I came to 
bring you the information you required of me." 

188 From Slavery to Wealth 

He said: *Did you ever see it rain as hard as it is '^liningr 

''Yes, sir, this is a pretty good rain. But Captain I am after 
results. It never gets too dark nor rains too hard wh^n I am 
i^iiev that. What information can j^ou give me?" 

**\Vell I will have to go with you." 

] said: **It is a long ways to the camp and we will have to go 
up stream so we had better start now\" I finally got him to agree 
to turn cut; and off we went. We arrived at the camo about 
10 o'clock. Upon our arrival I said to Captain Stearns, **As you 
have not had any breakfast, I will have the cook prepare you 
something to eat." 

He said: **No. 1 arn very much oblij^ed. I will run up to Hull 
and White's camp," which was about one-half mile from m.\ 
ciimp. I had never been to that camp, but I heard them felling 
trees ever since my camp had been located on the south half of 
12. My boys had finished all the w^ork I had left for them to do 
and were sitting on the raft laughing and talking, wailin^,- for 
Captain Stearns to return from the other camp. Tn a little 
while he made his a])pcarance. 

Ht? said: **Un(*le Scott, Hull iiiul White refuse to let you cut 
any on 12. so get your boat-', crews and camping outfit 
and I will carry you over here en Icsl swcimp and there 1 will let 
you ( ut all the timber you want lo cut." 

I dr(,pped my head and began thinkin.r within mys.ll". What 
a nice thin-x 1 once had and h:ui levcakd all my bu.^iness to 
Captain Steams n'^rarding the tinibei*, and saw how nicely and 
pleasantly he had wound nie up in l-is little web, as the spider 
did the fly. J realized the fact that I kiievv nothing at all about 
lost swamp, and there had been nt) float loads cut through it. 
1 decide(i thai \xas a lame job. I realized the fact that Capt. 
Stearns bad done me a great injustice, imA i.uly taking advantage 
of my ignorance in buying the i,(>rih half .f section J2, but had 
even trespassed cm my i)r()pcrty withcat my consent by cutting 
the float road thr(.u:jh it. It ai)j)(\-iied to me that if Captains 
Hull and White w^tre cutting timljer abo\^' me for Capt. Stearns, 
they were compelled to come through my premises to get to the 

Life of Scott Bond 183 

river, which was the only way to get out with the timber. I 
still had my head hun^ down and I saw pretty clearly that I 
could master the situation. So I raised my head and looked at 
Capt. Steams and said : ''Captain Stearns, lost swamp the devil. 
I know nothing about lost swamp and I am not going anywhere 
you will never run a log through my float road unless I am dead.' 

This aroused all the boys at my camp. They were up in- 
stantly and ready for a big row. 

I said to them : "Quiet boys I will master the situation. You 
are out of your place." 

This seemed to somewhat shock Capt. Steams. He finally 
raised his head and said, "Uncle Scott wait until I come back." 

''All right, sir,." 

In about an hour, he returned with Capt. White, and Mr. Hull. 
Both of these men were perfect gentlemen and both were neigh- 
bors of mine. 

They came up and said: "Hello Uncle Scott," 

"I am not doing much Captain." They both had on their 
faces the smile of sauthem born, aristocratic gentlemen. They 
said to me : ** We learn from Capt. Steams that you are going to 
prevent us running? cur timber through this float road." 

"Gentlemen, that is true. I suppose that is Captain Steams' 
timber you are cutting?" 

He said : "In part that is right. But Uncle Scott we have a 
contract with Captain Stearns as long as this paddle I hold in 
my hand, and we are in the hole about $1500 with Capt. Stearns. 
We have about 250,000 feet of timber already cut and ready to 
float out, and in case we can't pass through your float road it 
will be a total loss. If you will allow us to go through and run 
our timber this will put us something like $2,000 to the good." 

"Capt. Hull, you and Mr. White are my friends and I have the 
highest regard for you both, but in this case I am compelled to 
shoot through you both in order to get to Capt. Steams. He 
has taken advantage of my ignorance, by me telling who owned 
the land and what it could be bought for and also explained to 
him about the float road. In my absence, he went and bought 
the land and later I met him and he agreed with me that we 

11)0 From Slavery to Wealth 

would still be partners. Now here it is, I have my entire crew 
here and had let him cut timber on my brake for two years. 
Now he winds up by telling me I can go in lost swamp, and I told 
him lost swamp the devil, I was not going anywhere. So you 
can see I certainly regret very much that I have to punish you 
gentlemen to get to Capt. Steams. 

They and Capt. Steams had a hearty laugh. Capt. Hull said : 
'*We see Uncle Scott that you are in a position to master the 
situation. He being an old aristocratic gentleman, said: "Let's 
all be friends and make money. There is more timber here in 
this swamp than we can get out on this rise, so you can take 
your men and go to cutting and when we put our timber in the 
float road we will not allow it to stop until we get to the river. 
And when you start to running your timber do likewise." 

This gave me great relief. When I could see that my neigh- 
bors wei^ making money and I was making some mj'self. This 
gave me gi'eat comfort. So in a few minutes the axes were 
ringing and the saws were singing. 

In the next few days we had another 140,000 feet of timber 
cut, cribbed and toggled ready for floatinj?. Sometimes our crib 
of timber would be in front and sometimes Captain Hull and 
White's timber would be in front. This was rather a new line 
of work for myself and my boys and when we could get the 
white in front of us we would watch the skill with which they 
handled their timber. We were ben(?fited bv their skill and art 
ill lloatin,^ timber in tl^.e float r:;ad. So Messrs. Hull, White 
and myself worked Ictrether, hand in hand and wo all came out 
well and made nice money. 

Life of Scott Bond 19a 


On July 26th, the next year I finished laying by my crop and 
drove my team on the brick yard. By working with Mr. Blount 
the year before that I had learned just what to do. 

I cleaned off my brick yard, planned my mud pits, had me a 
mud wheel built like the one I had run the year before for Mr. 

My brother-in-law, Pat Banks and myself had been together 
from time to time, thought we would go in partners and bum a 
kiln of brick, after I had the yard cleaned off. The next day 
he came around to where I was at work, and said : "I have de- 
cided not to go in partners in the brick business, but you can 
use me anywhere you see fit and I will do all I can to advance 
you in the brick business, and you can pay me whatever you 
think is right." 

I agreed to that and said : "I am going to make and bum the 
brick." So I moved off with my brick business.' 

I hired my molders and offbearers and after I had made brick 
two or three days, I went to see Mr. Blount, who was teaching 
school in Forrest City, to get him to show me how to set my kiln. 

I effected the following arrangement: "I was to furnish him 
a horse, bridle and saddle, and every evening at the close of 
school he was to come down to the kiln. I was to board him at 
my house and we were to work from 4 :30 to 7 :30 or 8, and we 
would start in the morning as soon as it was light enough and we 
could set brick until 8 o'clock then he could have breakfast, get 
in his saddle and be at school on time. 

This worked all 0. K. After Mr. Blount would close over 
the eyes of the brick kiln, I had learned to set brick all right, 
and in five weeks time after I had got started we had made and 
bumed 130,000 brick. 

I had a partner, a white man by the name of Mr. Crawford. 
He and I had decided to put up a steam gin. I put my brother- 
in-law, Pat Banks to hauling the material to build the gin while 
I was burning the brick kiln. So I was ready to build my furn- 
ace at the gin plant by the time the brick was cool enough to 

194 From Slavery to Wealth 

By the 15th of October, I had my brick ready for the maxket 
and had completed my gin plant. I ginned a bale of cotton on 
that date. I had not as yet sold any brick, but happened to be 
in Forrest City the next day after I had ginned a bale of cotton. 
Capt. Wynne, who at that time was president of the Bank of 
Eastern Arkansas, came into T. 0. Fitzpatrick's ofl9ce and said : 
Mr. Fitzpatrick I have a subscription list here. We are goinsr 
to build a church here in town and I want to see how much you 
will subscribe. 

Mr. Fitzpatrick was a scholarly gentleman, yet he had a gruff 
way of meeting his friends. 

He said : "No, Capt. Wynne, I have spent the most of my dajrs 
building churches and school houses for the white people and 
Negroes of this county." 

Captain Wynne was a very modest Christian gentleman and I 
noticed his face when Mr. Fitzpatrick made that expression. It 
appeared that he had thrown cold water over his face. 

I remarked: "Captain Wynne, he is mistaken. The Negroes 
and a large per cent of the white people of this county have 
kept his hands in the government com crib for years and yeaxb. 
Mr. Fitzpatrick has never paid a dollar in the way of building 
churches for either the Negroes or white people, and the Lord 
has simply loaned him this money, in order that he might help 
to build churches and school houses. Captain Wynne I wish I 
was a white man in order that I would have a chance to help 
build this church." 

"Uncle Scott we would be glad to have you help us with this 

"All right sir, here is ten dollars." 

He handed me the list to sign my name, we were both standing 
at Mr. Fitzpatrick's desk. 

As I went to pass the list back to Capt. Wynne, Mr. Fitz- 
patrick, who had not in all this time said a word, grabbed the list 
and struck it for $50.00. He said, the conversation between 
Scott Bond and yourself has changed my decision." 

Capt. Wynne, as I have before stated was a modest Christian 



Hi X-' 







' t 







Life of Scott Bond 197 

gentleman ; and as he turned to go out, said, "I am so much 
obliged to you gentlemen for your generosity." 

I did not know at that time what kind of a church they were 
going to build, frame or brick, but about three days later, the 
building committee came to my house to see me, they said : 

*' Uncle Scott, we learn that you have finished burning a 
brick kiln." 

'*Yes, Sirs, I have one that just blowed out a few days ago." 

"We would like to know if your bricks have smooth faces and 
are well burned." 

"Gentlemen, come to tne kiln with me, I will let you be your 
own judge." 

When we arrived at the kiln I said, "now gentlemen I will 
open the kiln at any place you want me to." They picked the 
place on the top of the kiln. I went to work like a June bug and 
made the opening until they said that is deep enough. 

"How did you manage to get such smooth faces on your brick." 

I worked with Mr. Blount, who worked for Mr. Gray in For- 
rest City, in order to learn how to make brick, and I noticed 
that the coarser the sand they used, the rougher the bricks were. 
So I found a real smooth white sand bed and used it so that my 
brick would be smooth. 

"Well these brick are all right. What are they worth?" 

"I am asking $9.50 per M." 

"Well we will take $450.00 worth at that price." 

"All right gentlemen. What are you going to build with 
these brick?" 

"We are going to build a church at Forrest City, and will use 
these bricks for the front." 

"Gentlemen is this the same church for which Capt. Wynne 
was soliciting?" 

"Yes, this is the same church and we notice that you have 
given us $10.00 on it." 

"Gentlemen, let me say right here, as this is the Lord's house, 
I will only charge you $9.00 and leave the half off." 

"Uncle Scott this is very nice in you and we thank you for 
your kindness." 

198 From Slavery to Wealth 

This was the first sale of brick I made at tiie kiln. Within 
the next day or two, I met Mrs. Graham, who wbs a large land 
owner and a Christian lady. I said to her, ''I see you are making 
extensive improvements on your farms. I see you are hauling 
brick from Forrest City to build your chimneys. Now as we 
are neighbors and own large farms adjoining, I would be glad for 
you to have your agents examine my brick kiln and if the brick 
and prices meet your approval, I would like to sui)ply you with 

"Why Uncle Scott, ha-e you a brick kiln and what do you ask 
for your brick?" 

"$9.50 per M." 

"All right, I will instruct my agent to get the balance of the 
brick I need from you." 

A day or so later, there were seven wagons from Mrs. 
Graham's at the kiln for brick. The wagons continued to haul 
until they had hauled off the last brick I had to spare. I did not 
get a chance to build but one chimney for myself, after making 
my brother-in-law a present of brick enough to build a chimney 
for himself, I said to my brother-in-law, "I begged you a long 
time to go in partnership with me in this kiln. If yon had been a 
partner, you could not have worked harder than you did work, 
and you would have made wages, as you did make and would 
have been $350 to the good clear of all expenses." You see I 
only made two sales and sold out the entire kiln. Now Mr. 
Banks we could have sold 500,000 brick just as easy as we sold 
what we did." 

This encouraged me to bum another kiln the next year. 

Mr. Blount, by this time had gone off to school. I wrote to 
Gray's Station, Ark., for Mr. Carey Brown, who was an all 
round good brick man. By this time I had gathered experience 
about the brick business by which I could economize in various 
ways. I went to work, doubled my capacity and burned twice 
as many as I did the year before. It did not cost me as much 
to bum these brick as it did to bum the others. I do not re- 
member now the exact date when I got rid of these bricks, but it 

life of Scott Bond 199 

was a short time and a more handsome profit tiian on the other 

Mr. Bond's example in this particular could be profitably followed 
every year by farmers during what is called the ** lay-by time.'* 
There is hardly a community in the south where clay suitable for 
brick can be found but would be benefited financially and other- 
wise if those who have the time training and energy would get busy 
making brick. 


In the time of slavery there were many methods of communi- 
cation among the slaves. Some of these methods were unique. 
Information was conveyed in many apparently mysterious ways, 
sometimes, the methods known as the clothes-line telegraph, some- 
times the underground mail; at other times a code of signals 
would impart the desired news. All this remember in a way to 
keep the overseer in the dark as to what was going on. 

Negroes used to steal something to eat sometimes, and if it wafs 
a hog, he would call it '*Joe High." And if it was a beef, he 
would call it **Ben Low." In fact, they had a jargon name for 
everything. If by chance, the overseer should smell the meat and 
detect it in one's dinner basket, he would rarely expose the thief. 
In fact, few people conscientiously thought the Negro's steal- 
ing at that time a moral wrong; and today his conscience along 
Ihese lines is in a measure eased as a reflex of the conditions of 
that time. 

200 From Slavery to Wealth 


As a rule when a while inan employs a Negro to work for him 
he tells him to go ahead. 

Mr. Bond lias always made it a rule to say, **Come on boySy let's 

Here again we repeat his words williout quotations : I hired two 
men — Frank Rutherford and Richard Ear\vood. The contract was 
that they were to eat when I ate, get up when I got up, go to bed 
when I went to bed, drink w^hen I drank, and rest when I rested. 

I was to pay them one-half of their wages each month and 
settle in full when Ihe crop was laid by. If tliey quit before the 
crop was laid by, excej)t for sickness or death, they were not to be 
paid the balance. I did this to keep them until the season was 

They went to work and did nicely until on the 15th of June. 
I noticed Earwood stopping and looking up at the sun. At last, 
about eleven o'clock, he stopped and said to me: **Mr. Bond, I 
have done the best I could. If I should stay to complete my 
contract, I w^ould have $27.50 coming to me. I can't stand it 
any longer. I will have to quit." 

I laughed and said to him, **A11 right. If you see a man along 
the road tell him to come to me and I will pi»y him a dul ar and a 
half a day while your money lasts. Then I will give him a dollar 
a day and board the balance of the season." 

Earwood left me and went his way. Rutherford stayed with 
me. One day as we were nearing the end of our work, I paused 
in the shade of a tree that stood in the middh* of the fn'Id. The 
fresh turned soil in the rows in the shade lookod cool and invitinjr. 
I stopped and sat down on my plow. As Rutherford came alonir, 
1 said, *'Whoa!" 

He asked me what was the matter. 
I said to him, **Sit down and rest." 
lie seemed astonished, lie shouted, **Rest?" 
'*Yes,"saidI, ''rest!" 

He remarked that he had been with me from March until the 
26th day of July and that was the first time he had ever heard me 

life of Scott Bond 203 

say rest. He was amused, and peal after peal of hearty laughter 
rang across the field. 

It is this spirit of ''get up and get" that has made Scott Bond 
the most remarkable man of his race. He never takes anything 
for granted, but must have evidence of effort by the results at- 


'*I often think of the latent forces," says Mr. Bond, **ot the 
Negro race, of its opportunities to do things and be somebody, 
that are passed by us unnoticed.*' 

To illustrate: 

**I was once engaged in tearing out an old fence row. It was 
covered with briars and vines. The fence was a post and board 
fence. I had a number of hands working. After we had cut 
all the vines, briars and bushes, one of the meti put his hands on 
one of the posts and gave a push. Down came five or six panels 
of fence — the boards and posts were all rotten. 

One of the men said, '"Just look at that! If the cows had 
any sense, they could have had all the corn they wanted." 

I said, ''Stop, all of you, and listen to me for a minute. If we 
Negroes only knew our power, we could do a great deal to better 
our condition, financially. If we would only stop and look and 
think, fortune would be as easy for us to get as it would have been 
for the cows to get the com." 

Tears after this I met a young man in Hot Springs, the great 
health i:esort, who knew me. He hailed me, saying, "Why, here 
IS Mr. Bond! You don't know me, do you!" 

I told him I did not. 

He then said, **My name is Alvin Wofford. I used to work for 
you fifteen years ago. I owe all my success in life to you." 

With tears of joy running from his eyes, he continued: **Tour 
lectures made a man of me, but of all the talks none did me more 
good than the talk you gave us the day we were tearing out the 
old fence row. I want you to make my house your home as lon«: 
as yon are in the city, because I feel that I owe my success to yon. ' ' 

204 From Slavery to Wealth 

Mr. Wofford was married and had a nice family and home in 
Hot Springs. 

Thus is shown in a beautiful way, that if the race used its la- 
tent power, it would forge ahead by leaps and bounds. And if 
individual efforts succeed so well, who can even estimate the ad- 
vancement we could make if we work in union to attain a com- 
mon end? 


One of the best things Mr. Bond tells us is how he learned what 
people meant by a ''Yankee Trick.' It is best told in his own 
words : 

"When I was a small boy in the early years of the Civil War, 
one of my duties was to keep the flies off the table. My mis- 
tress and the overseer would sit at the table for hours and talk 
about the Yankees 'and ** Yankee Tricks.' I wondered what they 
meant by "Yankees." I had heard people sing a song about 
"\ankee doodle dandy," and I thought a Yankee must be oome 
kind of an animal. 

After the war I asked a white man what a "Yankee Trick'* was. 

lie said one day he was driving along a road in a wagon. 
Among other things he had a barrel of molasses. He met some 
Yankee soldiers and asked them to show him a "Yankee Trick." 

They told him they would, and taking an auger he had in the 
wagon, bored a hole in one end of the molasses barrel and told 
him to stick his finger in to keep the molasses from running out. 
Then they bored a hole in the other end and told him to reach 
over and stick a finger in that hole. The soldiers then rode off. 
As they were leaving they said: "You asked us to show you a 
"Yankee Trick/' That is oiio. Tlokl your molasses." 

Life of Scott Bond 205 


Soon after the passage of the separate coach bill in Tennessee 
some funny things happened. At one time I was returning from 
Nashville, where I had been to see one of my sons graduate. Whe!i 
1 started to enter the train the conductor came to me and said, 
*'That is not your car. Get in this car." 

We obeyed the conductor as we had a right to do, and found 
ourselves in the car with white passengers. As I sat down I said 
to my son : * ' The conductor is mistaken. We will sit still and wait 
until the conductor comes back. We will then call his hand and 
have him let us go into our own car." This conversation attractea 
the attention of other passengers and they took in the situation. 
When the conductor came through and took up and punched our 
tickets, I remarked to him: **Colonel, I think you are mistaken. 
We are a little above riding in a car with white folks, as we are 
Negroes and I would lilce for you to show us into a Negro car if 
you have one hitched to this train." 

The conductor looked a little strange but we had a hearty laugh 
and he had the porter show us into a car where the colored pas- 
sengers rode, where 1 found the schoolmates of my boy on their wa,y 
home from school. We chatted and discussed the commencement 
exercises and the callings of the different boys and girls in after 
life. At another time I remember that soon after the separate coach 
bill had been passed in Arkansas, I boarded a train at Madison. 
This was what was known as a fast train. After I sat down the 
porter came to me and said: **This is not your car, captain, you 
.should get up and go in the other car." I paid no attention to him. 
He went out and in a few minutes he came back and stuck his head 
in the door and said, '*Cap', get up and go into the other car, you 
don't belonjj in here." 

I still paid no attention to the porter. Shortly after.\\ards he 
came back with the conductor, who slapped me on the ba«*k and 
said: **Get up and go into the other car." I looked at hira in o 
sarcastic manner and said: '*What in the name of the Lord shall 1 
do? The law says I shall not ride in the other car and you say ! 
shall not ride in this car with niggers. What shall I do?" 

Life of Scott Bond 209 


Jesus my all, to heaven has gone, 
He whom I fixed my hopes upon ; 
His track I see, and I'll pursue, 
The narrow way 'til him I view. 
I'll never turn back no more." 
This and many other old Plantation Melodies were sung, and one 
of the emigrants preached a farewell sermon. 

There were numbers of them who made prayers for the safety 
of the voyage. 

There were two real old people — man and wife — named America 
ond Hannah Shoulders, who were so old that any one could see 
that they were not strong enough for a journey of that character. 

Numbers of people, white aud colored, went to them and tried to 
persuade them not to start. They would reply to all alike, ''I am 
heaven bound. There is more money to be made in Africa picking 
up mahogany switches than there is in growing com and cotton 
liere. Africa is my original home. There is no lynching and 
brutal treatment of its citizens. I am going home ! If I fall by the 
wayside, I want my face to be towards Africa." 

As old as they were, it was fortunate for them to reach the Prom- 
ised Land. They only lived a few months after their arrival. 

The people of this community of both races were very much ex- 
cited over the ** African Fever," white as well as black. 

A few days later I happened to be in Forrest City, the county 
seat. A number of the white people would say to me : 

"Uncle Scott, do you think all the colored people are going to 
Africa t" 

I replied, ** No! There are ten million Negroes in the United 
States and it would hardly be possible to furnish them transporta- 
tion in twenty-five years." 

**Well," they would say, *'I have no business in Africa, but I have 
'been raised with them; they partly raised me. If they all go, I am 
going too. I can't live without them." 

I said to them: **I am sorry to hear you say this, for as large as 
this world is, all broad-hearted people ought to be able to get a liv- 
ing out of this world." 

210 From Slavery to Wealth 

Among the large number of blacks who went to Africa, some re- 
lurnecl, some died for lack of knowledge of the laws of health, and 
otnerb lived, thrived and did well. There was one named Harry 
i^oster, a man from Georgia, whose transportation I had paid from 
his old home to Arkansas, who had a great deal of vim and **get up.*' 

After he arrived in Africa he secured his two barrels of flour, 
one hundred pounds of meat, sugar and coffee and took possession 
ol" his twenty acres of land, cleared it, developed it and set it out 
in coffee trees, then bought twenty acres more from the government 
au'l planted that to coffee trees. The last I heard of him he 
\vy.; .jeriving an income of $1,500 a year from his coffee plantation. 

There was another man named Taylor Swift, who lived on one of 
my farms for four or live years. I finally persuaded him to buy 
himself a home adjoining my farm. He had developed this place 
>>\ clearing the land and building houses, and at that time had 
plenty of corn, mules and cattle and a nice little bank account. He 
100 pulled out for Africa with about $1,800 in cash. Taylor was a 
fcTood cotton grower. After he got to Africa and saw no cotton he 
WHS at a loss as to what to do. At the expiration of six months he 
<ieci(led to return to the ITnited States. He took his family and 
pulled out for home via Liverpool. His funds were exhausted 
when he arrived at the English port and cabled back for transpor- 
^itiori to Arkansas. He wus glad to get back and to meet his old 
Iriends and we were all glad to sec Taylor and talk with him about 
Africa and his adventures. Taylor was now in destitute circum- 
stances; no home, no money and nothing to eat. But he had a host 
of warm-hearted friends. When he left he had sold his farm to a 
>''hite man, a Mr. Newman Laughi!righouse, but later I had bought 
'1 as it joined one of my farms. He sold a pair of mules with his 
r'arni. One of the mules he called old Nell. He met this mule in 
•he road one day after his return, smacked her in the mouth and 
«aid : *'Nell, I hope to buy you back and if I do you will live and 
die mine." 

Taylor is more than an average man. He is really a good citizen, 
n good worker and always paid his obligations. He is well thought 
of by all who know him. When I met him after his return home 
he said to me: ''Well, Bond, I am at home again. I got my staii 

life of Scott Bond 211 

'with you before I went to Africa and lost it and now I want you 
to sell me another mule on credit and rent me 15 acres of the best 
land you have. I made it here once and I can make it again." 

I said: **A11 right, Swift, I will not sell you a mule but I will 
give you one." 

**B6nd, that sounds good." 

Swift took the mule, made and gathered 14 bales of cotton and 
180 bushels of com that year. I had reduced his rent and practi- 
cally gave him the corn and the hogs to make his meat another 

There was a track of 80 acres of land belonging to another party 
adjacent to the farm that he had formerly owned. I encouraged 
Swift to buy it, which he did, and now he has it in a high state of 
cultivation, all paid for with plenty of mules, cattle and hogs, an 
automobile and a fine bank account. This instance shows what a 
Negro can do in this country, if he will. Here is a man who came 
back home destitute and in debt. If he can do this, others can. 

A Race with the Stork. 

This story of another addition to the Bond family is intensely 
interesting and we let Mr. Bond tell it in his own way: 

*'I had always made it a point to be near home when there was 
an arrival expected. On one occasion the time approached when 
I felt it my duty to be at home as much as possible. Yet it was 
crop gathering time and my farming operations for that year were 
about 16 miles north of my home. My hands were gathering cotton 
and when ginned I would wait until I had a number of bales ready 
and would then get all my own wagons and the wagons of my 
neighbors and take in enough cotton to Forrest City to give the 
gin something to do. One Sunday afternoon as I sat talking with 
my wife I noticed that she was crying. I asked her what was the 
matter. She replied: 'You have always been near me, but this 
time you will not be able to be at home. You are in the midst of 
your picking and will have to be at the Allen farm.' I told her 
I had 18 mules and two horses and that I would be with her or my 
mules or horses would not have a leg left. I comforted her as best 
I could. I Tode 32 miles a day, leaving home in the morning and 
returning at night. Some three weeks later as the time drew near 
I had been to the farm and was within three miles of home when 
I saw my son Thco., riding toward me. I knew what was the mat- 
ter. I was driving one of the 38 wagons in the train. I called a 
boy who was riding my horse and gave him the team and mounting 
my horse turned and coursed my way through the woods, Thee 
following. I found on my arrival that I would still have time to 
go to Forrest City. I passed a few words with my wife and then 
went on to Forrest City. When I returned I found a bouncing 
boy awaiting me." 


Life of Scott Bond 215 


There are extant many stories of the finding of hidden gold in 
the .fields and hills of this county. About three years prior to this 
writing there was a colored woman driving into Madison along the 
river road at the foot of Crowley's Ridge. She noticed an old pot 
that had been exposed at the root of a large tree by a heavy rain 
that had fallen the night before. She passed it by and at night a«j 
she was returning home she thought she would satisfy her curi- 
osity by examining the old pot. A passer-by told her that a white 
man had found there that day a pot containing $8,000 in gold, all 
of which proved to be true. 

As to myself, I was one time building a fence. I had a boy dig- 
ging a hole for a gate post. He struck a hard substance that pre- 
vented him digging the hole. The boy's name was Willie Rucker, 
I said to him: ** Willie, how long will it take you to finish digging 
that holet" He replied: '*Mr. Bond, I don't know. I have struck 
something hard like a piece of iron; I can't get through it.*' 

I told him that was all right, to pull it out. 

'*Mr. Bond, you will have to start another hole I can't get through 
this iron." I told him to get away. I got down and reach«id into 
the hcJe and put my hand through the handle of the lid of an oven. 
I had often heard that money had been buried somewhere about 
the place. It was in the month of February. It was very cold. 
I immediately found something else for Willie Rucker to do. The 
sun was about one and one-half hours high. I sent Willie to fee<l 
the horses. I covered the hole with a board and waited until night 
to remove the pot. It looked as if night would never come. When 
it was dark I got my spade and went to work. After digging for 
»n hour and a half I pulled the pot up. It was dark. I could feel 
the seam around the edges but I could not remove the lid. As it 
was cold, I took it to my bed room and placed it on the hearth in 
front of the fire and got a hammer and tried to get the lid oif . My 
wife and mother-in-law had retired by this time, and in tapping 
the rim with the hammer to loosen the lid it awakened ra\' wi'>, 
who rose up in the bed and asked me what was the matter. I toM 
her nothing; to lie down. She got up out of the bod an! f'Mi>» • to 

216 From Slavery to Wealth 

nie and asked what I had there and what I was trying to do. I 
t«»l(l her it was a pot of gold. Then and there wife got busy. 
Let me have the hammer," she said, '*I will get the lid off." 
By tliat time my mother-in-law had awakened and was up and 
at ihe fire asking what in the world was the matter. ^*Let me have 
the hammer," she said. *'I will get it off." I was so worked up 
over my find I did not eat any supper. I thought that I had found 
a rich and uiiexi>eeted treasure. By that time my two children 
were awake and at tlie fireside, and all were anxious to get the lid 
off the pot. There was a seam all around the edge where the lid 
appeared to be fastened on to the pot. But all the joys of earth 
have an end. To our chagrin the pot of gold proved to be a weight 
off the safety valve of an old-fashioned boiler. It weighed 29 
pounds. It has often been said that Scott Bond found a pot of 
.money. That is true ; he did ; he dug it dollar by dollar from the 
long rows of corn and cotton, working earlj*- and late or as he has 
. often said: ** From can't to can't. From can't see in the morning 
to can't see at night." His pot of gold is the profits of his toil. 
There are thousands more like it buried in the fertile fields of Ar- 
kansas waiting for the energy and thrift of any who will dig. 



He said : ' ' When 1 bought my home place where I now live it was 
formerly owned by a man named McMurry. It appeared that Mr. 
McMurry and his wife did not always agree. They only had one 
•child, a son. This young man always esteemed his mother very 
iichly and gave her the greatest honor in his power. After he had 
grown to manhood he became a captain on the river and made 
quite a sum of money. Being so atfectionate to his mother, it was 
said he had given her $500 in gold and that his mother had buried 
it somewhere about the place. When I bought the place mother, 
father and son were all dead and I bought the place from their 
estate. There was a jug cistern dug within ten feet of the north 
chimney of the house. It had always been said that colored people 
believed in dreams. One of my neighbors named Abe Davis met 
me one morning and said: 'I had a dream last night. I dreamed 
that you had found $300 in gold buried between the cistern and 
the chimney of the room where you and your wife sleep.' 

**I had a hearty laugh with the old gentleman and passed it off. 
About three weeks later my 'J)rother-in-law's wife dreamed that a 
lot of money was found within three feet of the place where Mr. 
Davis dreamed that he found it. A few months later my brother-in- 
law came with another dream. He dreamed that he found it under 
the hearth in our bed room within five feet of the place where the 
fathers dreamed it was found. About a year after these dreams I 
was running a large farm about 15 miles away and always made 
it a rule to come home every S§,turday evening to see my wife and 
<3hildren. Wife would always 'fiave our home in perfect order and 
9he and the children would be eagerly awaiting my arrival. On 
lliis particular occasion I was a little early. 


218 From Slavery to Wealth 

As I quitely rode up to the gate and looked over into the yard, 
and all the flowers were in bloom, my two little boys war*} out in 
the front yard playing. They had not yet detected my presence. 

I sat there on my horse and noted the cows and hogs, chickens, 
boys and flowers, and I could hear my wife singing back in the 
kitchen, getting supper. All this appeared to me like home, sweet 

I made my presence known and there was a hearty greeting. I 
told my wife and children many little stories of what had happened 
during that week. 

After supper was over and we had retired, the fire from the fire 
place made a brilliant light on the hearth. I said to my vdfe, "1 
admire the neatness with which you have painted your hearth.'* 
She remarked: ''Yes, do you remember that sunken place in the 
hearth that was so hard to keep level!" 

I said: **Yes, I remember it." 

'*What was the reason we could never keep that brick level!" 
tihe asked. 
I replied: *'I have no idea." 

**Some crazy person," she said, *Mn laying the foundation for 
that hearth had put a tin can in with the dirt and one edge of the 
brick rested on the tin can." 

*' What was in tlie can?" I asked. 

She replied: ** Nothing but dirt." 

I asked if the can was rusty. 

She said: ''No, it was bright. The top had been melted oflf and 
was pressed close together." 

I asked how she knew there was nothing in the can but dirt. 
** Because it was heavy,'' she replied. 
I asked her what she did with the can. 

She told me she had given it to Dora, the nurse girl. This girl 
was about grown. She said she told Dora to take it out and throw 
it away. I asked her where Dora threw the can. The next morn- 
ing I asked Dora to come and show me where she threw the can. 
She walked over to the fence where I had a potato patch and said : 
**1 threw it right over there in the potato patch." 

life of Scott Bond 219 

I had only six rows of potatoes set out at that time and I took it 
row by row and searched diligently the entire potato patch for the 
can. This was on Sunday morning. I thought the matter over 
several times during the day, and remembered the dreams, all of 
which pointed to within eight feet of the place where the can was 
located. This confirmed in my own mind that by the can being 
bright and not rusty and the top edge being pressed close together 
and being heavy, as wife said; then taking into consideration the 
stories of the !s5()i) in gold, I thought we had found the hidden 
treasure. On ^Monday morning I gave Dora another can and told 
her to go and throw it where she threw the other. She tooJc the 
can, walked up lo the fence and threw it over and said: '* There is 
where I threw it." I got the garden rake and raked the ground 
thoroughly for ten feet around where she threw the can. 1 failed 
to locate it. I then hitched my mule to the haitrow and literally 
tore my potato patch to pieces huntizig the lost treasure. My 
brother-in-law came up as I was looking for the can and helped me 
hunt for it, but there was no can found. Some time after this, Dora 
became dissatisfied and moved back to Tennessee from whence she 
had come a year before. I then made myself satisfied, hoping she 
had availed herself of the hidden treasure. 



In looking around Madison I began to think of what would be 
the best thing for our town and the community at large. It 
occurred to me that a first class steam gin outfit would be the 
next thing; handling as I was about 600 bales of cotton of my 
own, and seeing the surrounding country was increasing its 
cotton growing acreage. 

I went to Mr. Ed Berry, who was a merchant and competitor 
of mine in the same town and made this proposition to him. 

"You have a small one stand gin outfit in the town, now let me 
purchase one-half interest in your gin outfit^hen we will dispose 
of the outfit and put in a first class four stand continental out- 
fit in partnership and you be president of the concern and you 
shall also have a say so, as to who shall manage the plant. I now 
own this court house square here in the town we will build our 
gin on the railroad switch and river bank, which will give us 
fine shipping facilities. 

He said : "No, I will agree to nothing of the kind. In the first 
place there is not cotton enough in this community to support 
a gin of this class." 

"I am surprised governor, you must be mistaken about this, 
because you handle upward of 250 bales from your own farm, 
and I handle something like 500 or 600 bales. This would of 
itself justify the plant, to say nothing of what might come from 
the country around. 

His answer was "No, I will never agree to anything like that, 
and I shall not allow a building of that kind to be built where 
you say you are going to put it." 

"Do I understand you to say that I shall not build a gin on 
my own land ?" 

"That is exactly what I say and I mean every word I say." 


life of Scott Bond 221 

"Well governor on what grounds are you going to prevent me 
from building?" 

"On the ground that it will be obnoxious to my business in- 
terest. It will increase the insurance on my houses and stock." 

"Now governor I don't have this to do but to show you how 
broad I am, I will agree to pay the difference between what you 
pay now and what you will pay for insurance." 

"No, you don't have this to do, I am able to pay my own bills." 

"All right governor we are going to put up a plant anyhow." 

He said : "All right I will see you out." 

My mind was thoroughly made up along these lines. I got my 
sons and consulted them about building a gin plant. They both 
disagreed with me on the ground that it would cost too much 
money, and that we were not in a position to put in that kind of 
a plant. 

"Boys I think you are wrong. The man who sits down and 
waits is usually the man who is always behind. I can see our 
way clear, so come now, sit down and write these letters. 

I wrote to three concerns that were putting out gin plants at 
that time, and got immediate replies from all the concerns, stat- 
ing that their agents would wait on us in the next few days. 
Right here business picked up. 

I had my mind already made up as to what kind of a gin I 
would put in. I had been to Forrest City and seen the conti- 
nental outfit that had been put in by Mr. Fussell and others, but 
I had no idea what an outfit like that would cost. 

The first agent to call on us was Mr. Phillips, representing the 
Murray Gin people. The next was Mr. Dickerson, representing 
the Continental Gin Co. Both of these gentlemen explained the 
capacity, durability, etc., of their respective plants. Both 
claimed to have the best outfit, but I was unable to get either 
one to tell me the cost to us of his outfit f . o. b. our station. They 
were highly intelligent and were on to their job. 

After I had explained to them the size of plant and the kind 
of buildings I wanted and the number of gins, they left and said 
they would return at a certain time, prepared to offer prices. I 
set the time for April 10. On that day I had a representative 

222 From Slavery to Wealth 

from three different concerns all anxious to sell to us. This gave 
me leverage and a chance to pull them all on prices. 

After getting prices, f . o. b. our station from each of them, 
I managed that neither should know the other's proposition. We 
talked gin machinery from early afternoon until 6 o'clock. 

Mr. Dickerson took me into a private office and said : ''Uncle 
Scott, I am going to sell you this outfit regardless to what the 
price may be." 

I told him all right, but he would have to lower the price 
Away down from what he had quoted. 

He asked what price the Murray people offered. 

I told him I could not afford to tell him that, but the lowest 
price will get the order. 

When Mr. Dickerson turned me loose the Murray man 
.grabbed me and took me into the private office. He told me his 
factory had sent him to sell to me regardless of the price. I 
told him all right, but his figures were too high. That he must 
do more subtraction. He asked what price the Continental 
offered. I told him it would not be policy for me to say what 
their offer was. 

Mr. Dickerson walked in and said: "Gentlemen, excuse me a 
minute. Uncle Scott, I have telephoned to Mr. Wolfe, manager 
of the Forrest City Gin, he will be here in a few minutes." 

Mr. Wolfe a fine stylish gentleman and an expert on Continen- 
tal gin plants, because of his having purchased several of this 
make came in and said: "Uncle Scott may I see you privately 
for a minute?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Now Uncle Scott, Mr. Dickerson phoned me to come over 
here and help him out with this sale. I certainly do know from 
past experience, what I have paid the company for two or three 
different outfits I have bought from them. From what Mr. 
Dickerson has told me, he has made you a very low price on this 
outfit. But I want you to know that I am not connected with 
■either one of the factories. My trip over here is merely to help 
out Mr. Dickerson. I want you to feel personally that I am real- 
ly your friend." 

Life of Scott Bond 225 

"That is all right Mr. Wolfe, I appreciate what you say, but 
Mr. Dickerson will have to get $375 under the price he has men- 
tioned. This is a cash proposition and money makes the mare 

"I don't blame you much Scott but I am afraid Mr. Dickerson 
will not be able to sell you. But it is all up to him and his 

Then we walked out and met Mr. Phillips and Mr. Dickerson. 

Mr. Phillips says : "Let's have a fine cigar." The whole party 
had a hearty laugh. 

"All right Mr. Phillips, I don't smoke, but I will enjoy seeing 
you all smoke." 

"Well," he said, "Have a dry smoke." 

"I don't know what that means." Then another laugh from 
all parties. 

"Take the cigar and hold it in your mouth and don't light it." 

"And this is what you call a dry smoke?" 

Mr. Phillips said : "Uncle Scott I guess it is my time. Let me 
see you privately. Now if I just knew what price you wanted to 
pay. I have already cut this outfit down almost to the cost of 
manufacture and yet if I knew what you were aiming to pay for 
ity I would be able to sell you in ten minutes. I am willing to 
cut the price I mentioned you $100 less." 

"Well that looks like you are getting down to the place and I 
think I will be able to let you know in a few minutes." 

It was then about six o'clock in the evening. I stepped in the 
store and Mr. Dickerson said : "Uncle Scott it is all off. I will 
accept the proposition you made Mr. Wolfe." 

Mr. Phillips said : "Uncle Scott I think I ought to have another 

Mr. Dickerson said: "Mr. Phillips, Uncle Scott does not talk 
but one time. I have accepted the proposition Uncle Scott made 
to Mr. Wolfe and it is all over." 

"Yes, I meant precisely what I said to Mr. Wolfe. I am now 
ready for the contract, and I want the machinery delivered aa 
quickly as possible." 


226 From Slavery to Wealth 

Mr. Wolfe said : "I came over to help Mr. Dickerson make this 
deal, but it looks as though I have helped you out instead of Mr. 
Dickerson, for I do know that you have bought your outfit $1150 
cheaper than I bought mine." 

"I am much oblige to you Mr. Wolfe and also to Mr. Dickerson 
and his factory." 

I soon saw that this was the Continental territory and they 
could better afford to give a gin away than to allow the Murray 
people to get a foothold. 

The blue prints and their timber dimensions were soon for- 
warded us from the factory. 

I then got a contractor from Little Etock by the name of G. L. 
Ball. Had the ground cleaned off and the foundation of the 
building laid. The building was completed by the time the 
machinery arrived. It was unloaded and put to place in the gin 
house in good shape. The engine and boiler were set at the 
proper place. 

Governor Berry, who was my competitor kept a keen eye on 
me all this time. He had decided within himself that he could 
not interfere with me in so far as the main building was con- 
cerned, but knowing I would have to have a large platform in 
front of my gin plant and seeing that I would have to extend it 
over an old street that had been condemned, because the town 
had lost its charter. I had learned from his actions that this 
was the ground on which he would object to me building a plat- 
form. I had a talk with my contractor and told him what was 
going to happen. I had all the timbers sawed and hauled and 
placed on the ground. Now I want you from time to time to 
have all the rubbish for 100 feet in front of the gin removed. 
But to remove it at different times in order to prevent suspicion. 
To have all the blocks sawed and timbers cut to build a platform 
48 feet wide and 150 feet long. To be sure to have every piece 
cut and laid at the proper place, in order that the platform could 
be built in about 3 hours. Be sure to have everything ready. 
Because I was sure that Governor Berry was going to try to file 
an injunction to prohibit me from putting up the platform. 

Life of Scott Bond 227 

The contractor came in the store one morning and said he was 
ready to stretch his line. 

I said : "I am afraid you are not ready. I am going to give 
you until 12 o'clock today to view the ground and be sure that 
you have every thing at the proper place, as I 4o not want to use 
any tools but hammer and nails." 

At 12 o'clock I had my horse hitched to my buggy and gave 
orders to have the store closed and every salesman and all the 
balance of the crew that was working on the gin to get hammers 
and nails. 

I said to the contractor: "Now when you stretch your tape 
line the governor will come and tell you to stop, but do not pay 
any attention whatever. You must not have a word to say to 
him under any circumstances. I will get in my buggy and drive 
full speed to the court house at Forrest City, because I know 
there is where he will have to go to get out papers to file an in- 
junction and I want to be there sitting on the steps waiting to be 
made whole. 

"Now boys each and every one of you ; I want my orders carried 
out to the letter. Answer no questions and say nothing to any 
one, but listen to my contractor and do what he tells you. This 
is one of the times I want you to turn and turn fast. I want 
this job accomplished inside of three hous at the most." 

I was at the court house door when the county judge walked 
to the door and called the constable. I raised up and said: 
"Judge I suspect I am the man you want to see." 

"Well yes. Here is Uncle Scott now. Uncle Scott, Mr. Berry 
has called me over the phone and told me you were building a 
platform over the county road." 

"Now Judge you know Mr. Berry is a white man and I can't 
afford to dispute his word. Do you believe that being as I am 
a citizen of this county, I would have little enough sense to build 
an obstruction over the county road?" 

"No, Uncle Scott that does not look reasonable. What are 
you building and where are you building it?" 

228 From Slavery to Wealth 

"I am building a platform to my gin plant that I have just 
finished at the north end of one of the streets of the town that 
has been condemned." 

"What kind of a plant are you putting up and what will it 

"I am putting in a complete Continental outfit of the latest 
model. It will cost something like $9,000." 

"Uncle Scott, that is all right. I wish the county was full of 
Scotts. But you know I am a white man and a democrat and 
have to try to favor my many neighbors and voters." 

"There is my horse and buggy. Let Mr. Thad Sellers the 
constable, take him and drive down and see." 

"How long will it take you to finish it?" 

"Judge I guess it is about completed by this time. I had my 
arrangements made with my contractor to finish it in two or 
three hours as I was looking for just such steps as these." 

"I will tell Mr. Berry by phone, that to comply with the law, 
he will have to come over here and get out the papers. I am 
sure by that time you will have it completed." 

"I surely will judge and I am very much obliged to you for the 
manner in which you have explained things to me " 

I got into my buggy and drove back home. When I arrived 
the platform 48 feet wide and 150 feet long was completed and 
the boys were unloading the machinery from the cars and put^ 
ting it on the platform. 

I stepped on the platform and said to the contractor, "I want 
to congratulate you for your shrewdness and swiftness." 

"Did you have any trouble?" 

"No, none of any consequence." 

"When I ran my line out and drove my first stake, Mr. Berry 
came out and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was 
building a platform for cotton. He said I notify you to stop 
and don't drive another peg. I told him all right and kept on 
driving pegs and pushing the boys up." 

"Later he came back with another white man and said, I 
now notify you in the presence of this man not to drive another 

Life of Scott Bond 231 

I told him to go and see my boss. I am paid $5.00 per day to 
do this work and consider he is responsible." 

"Where is your boss as you call him?" 

"I suppose he is at the court house by this time. He said he 
was going there." 

"All right, he is one of the slickest ducks I have run upon for 
some time, and I must give him credit for his shrewdness." 

The next morning he brought the insurance papers and said : 
"Here are the papers you agreed to sign." 

"All right governor let me see them. I called my son to read 
them over." 

He read them over very hurriedly. Son read those papers 
again and read slowly and don't read so fast. When he had com- 
pleted reading the insurance papers I said governor you have 
been in the mercantile business for 18 years, and your store has 
never burned. Now if I sign these papers the way you have 
them made out I see no reason why your store should not bum 
in 48 hours. 

"You promised me you would sign them." 

"Yes at the beginning I told you, if you would not interfere 
with me building the plant, in order to get along with you I 
would sign papers for the difference between what you had been 
paying and what you would have to pay now. But you told me 
you was a white man and could pay your own bills. For that 
reason I don't feel that I am under any obligation." 

Along in those days I hustled all day and part of the night. I 
found out it was quite a job to install a plant like this and get it 
ready by ginning time. The thing that worried me most was 
that in handling the contractor, as he had been accustomed to 
working his men on the ten hour system, the sun was two hours 
high in the morning when they began work, and was two hours 
high in the evening when they knocked off. As a farmer I could 
not fit myself gracefully into this system, but I had to take my 
medicine and do the best I could. However I had my plant ready 
and was the first man to gin a bale in the county that fall. 

This gin was largely advertised, by the different colored 

232 From Slavery to Wealth 

farmers all over the country. We had nothing to do but to go 
ahead ginning. 

In a few weeks we were turning out from 25 to 40 bales a day 
and would often gin until 10 o'clock at night. I expected 800 
bales of cotton for the season, but to my surprise we ginned 
1,800 bales. This flooded the little town with worlds of money 
that fall. Mr. Berry, my competitor, did not gin a bale with me 
and did not allow any of the hands on his place to gin with me. 
Yet this gin had increased his mercantile business 100 per cent 
-nbove any previous time. 

I met him about the close of ginning season and said : "Grov- 
ernor how is your mercantile business? Is it not a fact that 
your business has increased 100 per cent as a result of the erec- 
tion of this plant?" 

"I could not say it has increased 100 per cent, but I must say 
I have done the best business this fall that I have done since I 
have been merchandising." 

"I am sure you are right because I have paid out all the way 
from $350 to $500 a day on cotton seed and made the rebate 
checks in a way that all business men of the town could collect 
and share alike." 

•*Well you are right about that. I must compliment you for 
what you have done. I have kept you from ginning every bale 
this fall that I could. If I live to see another year I expect for 
you to gin every bale of cotton over which I have any influence. 
I see now that your gin plant is the making of our little town." 

The next year Mr. Berry not only ginned his own cotton 
with me, but he actually went out and canvassed for the gin, 
and we ginned 2,260 bales of cotton. 

This of course made me feel that I had accomplished a big 
thing in the manner in which I handled things at that time. I 
suppose any man white or black would have felt good over this. 

I must admit here that Mr. Berry is away over an average 
man, for truthfulness and honesty as a citizen. He is fair and 
open in all of his decisions, as man to man, and has always shown 
that he was willing "to give to Caesar the things that are 

Life of Scott Bond 233 


About 1911-12 it looked as though the climate or seasons were 
changing. The opportunities for progressive farming in these 
parts. Crops had begun to be almost flat failures. 

August 1st that year I had an opportunity to take one of my 
neighboring farmers in the buggy with me for a drive over 
some of my farms. This gentleman got out of the buggy on 
different farms and examined the cotton and said : "All the cot- 
ton I have seen up to date and would average for 1 to 1 14 bales 
to the acre." Prospects then were fine for a big crop. 

It began raining on that day and rained every day in the 
month of August, and when the rain stopped cotton took the 
blight and millions of bolls dried up without maturing. All the 
crops that season were cut 75 per cent. I had never seen a 
failure in this country prior to this in all my forty years of farm- 
ing. But I decided that while I had worlds of sweetness, I must 
also accept some of the bitter. 

I started next season as usual to farming, thinking we would 
make a good crop. Just as we got well under way there came an 
overflow. The mighty Mississippi swelled out of her banks and 
inundated the whole of our part of the country. From Crowley's 
Ridge to Memphis, a distance of 40 miles was one vast sea of 
water, sweeping to the Gulf of Mexico, bearing on its muddy 
bosom wreckage and driftwood from the country above. 

Farmer's lost heavily in stock, produce, fences and houses. 
This caused me to build a boat which would carry 20 mules and 
several tons of other stuff, and with this I conveyed many people 
to high ground from the overflowed lands about me. It also re- 
quired about four weeks of hustling night and day to manage 
such a vast quantity of produce and to help care for a large 
number of people and stock. 


234 From Slavery to Wealth 


I remember one time my aunt found $47 on the river banks at the 
Allen farm. It was customarj- for the women on the place to do 
their laundry work on the bank of the river. My aunt had taken 
her wash tub and wash board down to the water's edge and had 
about completed her task and was returning to the house. About 
two-thirds of the way up the bank she espied at her feet an old- 
fashioned, wide-mouthed snuff bottle. She had her apron tucked 
up around her waist to make a pocket for small things. She stooped 
and picked up the bottle and dropped it into her apron. She had 
a bundle of clothes on her head and a wash board under her arm. 
The bottle dropped through the apron and rolled down the hill. 
She started after it and caught it just at the water s edge. When 
she opened it she found $17 all in dimes, black from age. She and 
her husband had a task every night sitting up rubbing the 
tarnish from the pieces that the inscription and figures could be 
read. This money was probably buried by some of the slaves on 
the farm before tho civil war. 


The first store house of concrete in St. Francis County w^as 
huilt by Scott Bond on the old court house square. Mr. Bond 

I had purchased this square at cost of $750.00. At that time 
there were only frame buildings in Madison and I concluded that 
this would be a beautiful site for a store. I made up my mind to 
erect a building of concrete, 30 feet by 120 feet long, three stories 
high; the lower stor>' being a twelve foot basement running full 
length and breadth of the structure. 

T had bids from contractors in Little Rock and elsewhere, who, 
on different occasions, came and submitted bids for the building. 
T finally closed with Mr. Delano of Forrest City, Ark., his bid 
being the lowest and best. 

In talking with contractors I found that I had best be my own 
architect so I made my own plans. In my trips to St. Louis, Kan- 
sas City and elsewhere, I learned that cement and sand would hold 

Life of Scott Bond 235 

lor Yankees and I concluded it would hold for me. I used old 
sawdust chains, band saA\7i and 2-inch pipe for reinforcing. This 
material I had picked up at different saw mills about the country. 
A building of this kind was new to numbers of people in this, 
locality. There was a gentleman, Mr. James Fussell, of Forrest 
City, considerd the **bull dog of the boneyard," who came 
over and after inspecting the entire structixre called me and said: 
** Don't you know that you are throwing away a good deal of 
money on this fcuilding?*' I asked him why he thought so. He 
replied: '* Don't you know this thing will crack and fall to the 
ground?" I remarked that I hoped it would not; that I had been 
over the northern states and had seen the Yankees erecting such 
structures and that if sand and cement would hold for them, with 
proper mixing it would hold for me. 

He said: **I hope so, but I am very much afraid it will not. Our 
bank will let you have all the money you want, as you seem to be 
one of the fellows who always succeeds." 

The contractor, Mr. Delano, after getting the first story up, 
attempted to carry up the mortar with a gasoline engine. He tried 
it for two days, but it proved a failure. I went to the building 
and saw he had ten Negroes to carry the mortar. The following 
colloquy occurred : 

**Good morning, Mr. Delano." 

**Qood morning, Uncle Scott." 

*'I see your gasoline engine was a failure." 

**Yes," I said, ** gasoline sometimes fails, but we as Negro labor- 
ers have never yet failed. We have always been faithful and 
obedient. When you say go, we go. When you say come, we 
come. That is what it has taken to make the sunny south what she 
is ; to clear her forests, build her railroads and cities and to make 
he|r fertile fields blossom as the rose." 

As construction advanced, I found that the contractor had taken 
the work too low. Mr. Delano insisted on givng bond on the con- 
*ract. He gave me a mortgage on his home. He saw he would 
lose, and like any other man began to worry over the matter. I 
told him he should not worry; to carry out his contract and give 

236 From Slavery to Wealth 

me the best results and I would make everything all right. I 
finished the building. It is substantial and elegant. It is the 
only building of its kind in the county. I have lately installed 
an electric plant for lighting throughout. The cost of the build- 
ing was several thousand dollars less than it would have been 
had I employed an architect. 


In speaking of some of the notable people among whom he 
lived, Mr. Bond says : "One of the greatest men of the country 
hereabouts is Mr. Otto B. Rollwage. To convince you that my 
saying is true, on one occasion this man was elected mayor of 
Forrest City at a time when he was 500 miles away. His elec- 
tion was unanimous. 

"He is not only great in some things but proved himself, great 
in every way. He pays more taxes on city property in his town 
than any other individual living there. He was in the mercan- 
tile business about twenty years and was well thought of by all 
who came in contact with him in a business way, both white 
people and black people. He was the bull dog of the bone yard. 
During those many years my entire business was done with his 
firm, and while they handled thousands of bales of cotton that 
was grown by me, and hundreds of car loads of potatoes, which 
made my business with them amount to $8,000 or $10,000 per 
year, I can conscientiously say that they kept the best set of 
books ever kept in Forrest City. Their books were so perfect, 
regardless to the amount of business that we could settle with 
them in 20 minutes. I was never able in all the years I dealt 
with them to detect a single mistake in their accounting. 

"At the time I was married, which was the second year I did 
business with them, as you will note, I have already stated I was 
financially weak. When I went to buy my wedding suit, Mr. 
Otto Rollwage waited on me himself, and at that time he was 
quite small, weighing only about 115 pounds. Being unable, to 
find a suit in their stock to fit me, he went with me to every 
store in town ; when we could find a coat we could not find a suit 

life of Scott Bond 237 

in town. We were at last compelled to buy coat at one place 
and trousers and vest at another place. One of the things that 
struck me most forcibly at the wind up, was trying to buy a 
white bow suitable for the occasion, we could not find one in the 
town. To my surprise Mr. RoUwage said: "By the way, I 
think I have the very thing you need up in my room. Come and 
go with me." He opened his trunk and took out a white bow 
and said : here is one that I bought for a similar occasion, but 
did not get to use it, and it will really be a pleasure to me to make 
you a present of it." 

I said : "I certainly thank you Mr. Rollwage, this is very kind 
in you." 

He said : '* You are more than welcome. I only wish I could 
do more for you. Now wait, I think it will really be nice for 
you to have a white vest to go with that black suit. I have a 
beautiful white silk vest that has never been worn by anyone. 
I bought it at the same time I bought the bow, and I am sure the 
vest and tie will look well with your black suit." 

"Mr. Rollwage that would be very nice, but I could not afford 
to have you do this, as I am a colored man and you a white man, 
I feel this would really be too much." 

"No indeed Uncle Scott, I am willing to do anjrthing I can do 
for you. I will also put my gold watch and chain in the vest" 

"I wish I could show you, Mr. Rollwage, how much I appre- 
ciate your kindness." 

I can say that I was married with a gold watch and chain 
that belonged to the greatest man in town. 

We were about the same size. 

The following night I was married to one of the greatest girls 
St Francis County has ever produced. I had often heard the 
saying that it was lucky to marry in borrowed clothes. I have 
oft times attributed my success in my undertakings to the fact 
that I was married in a suit of clothes belonging to a great man. 

Mr. Rollwage is today one of the leading lawyers of Eastern 

238 From Slavery to Wealth 


The cottonseed business has had one of the most remarkable 
careers of any southern industry. At one time cotton seeds were 
a drudgery and a nuisance. Today it is one of our greatest sources 
of revenue. The value of cottonseed has in a few years grown 
from less than nothing to hundreds of millions of dollars annually. 
One year I was doing business with the Richmond Cotton Oil Co., 
of which Mr. Sloane was manager. At that time I was operating 
three gin plants of my own and was also leasing one large plant at 
Widener, Ark., from the Richmond Cotton Oil Co. I was an ex- 
tensive cotton grower, therefore always boosted the price of cot- 
tonseed. That season we handled something like $250,000 worth 
•of cottonseed for the Richmond Cotton Oil Co. At the close of 
the season Mr. Sloane acknowledged that we had handled more 
seed for him than any other customer on his books. Mr. Sloane 
was pleased with the amount of seed we handled, but he did not 
like to see us boost the prices of seed to farmers. The seed market 
has always seemed to me to be a complicated affair. I have never 
been able to understand why the market for cottonseed was not 
quoted as are other products of the farm. Most of the original 
pj'oducers of cottonseed are Negroes, so it may be that the seed 
buyer does not think it necessary for the Negro to know the daily 
prices for which seed is selling. But as I have always inquired 
into the price of seed and have kept myself posted on the prices to 
the farmer and for that reason have been called a cottonseed 

The second season of my connection with the Richmond Cotton 
Oil Co., the local market opened at $13.50 per ton. I was advised 
by Mr. Sloane and other oil mill men that was the price to pay for 
seed. I loaded two cats and shipped them to Mr. Sloane at Mem- 
phis. The invoice when returned showed that I was receiving just 
i*?13.50, precisely the same I had paid for the seed. I had paid for 
the cost of handling and loading:. All this fell on me, which 
showed I had lost $1.50 per ton on the deal. 1 called Mr. Sloane 
over the telephone and asked him what was the matter. It' one 
T)ought seed for $13.50 and sold for the same, how long did he 

Life of Scott Bond 241 

think a man could stay in the market. He replied: '*Well, Uncle 
Scott, I have always told you that you were too much of a booster 
on cottonseed ; that you needed a lesson and I think there is no 
better time than now/' 

I said to him : ' * Do I understand that you will not pay any more 
£of the two cars of seed you have on hand?" 

He said: **I will make the next cars $1.50 per ton more.'' 

At this time I had five cars more ready for shipment. 1 had 
an idea that the world was pretty large, so I started out to hunt 
another market. I spent $7.50 in the next few days looking for 
(better prices. The last mill with which I spoke was the Buckeye 
Cotton Oil Co. I had a long telephone talk with them and noticed 
in the conversation that Mr. Sloane had had quite a talk with them 
in regard to the price of cottonseed. I was turned down cold so far 
as any advance in price was concerned, and held down to $13.50 per 
ton. By this time it occurred to me that I had been blackballed 
OS to prices at all the mills. We were paying from -six hundred 
to eight hundred dollars a day for cottonseed and had ten or 
eleven thousand dollars tied up in cottonseed at this time. I 
knew I could not stand this forever; that something must be done. 
I took the train for Memphis to visit some of the oil mills. I first 
went to Messrs. Cook, Gray & Co., who were my commission men 
and who were handling a large amount of cotton for me each year. 
I found Mr. Gray in his oifice. 

I said to him: **I have fifteen to seventeen carloads of cotton 
seed and I would like to know what is the price per ton, and what 
could they be sold for?" 

He replied, **I know I can get you $16 and I may be able to get 
t$17 per ton." Fortunately for me he called up the Richmond 
Cotton Oil Co., and sold the seed to them for $16.50. I said to Mr. 
Gray: "That price is all right. You go and close the deal with a 
written contract and I will pay you $50 for your trouble." 

Mr. Gray said: **That would be useless, as the sale will be all 
0. K." 

"No, Mr. Gray," I said, "I have been blackballed by all the 
mills in the country and Mr. Sloane is the author of the blackball 
game. If he finds that these are my seed he will be sure to turn 


From Slavery to Wealth 

the de&l down. If he asks you where the seed came from, you tell 
him it makes do difference he will have to give yoa $16.50 f. 0. b. 
station, where they are loaded aud X will guaraatee tliat the load- 
ing point will be within the $2 freight limit." 

Mr, Gray got in his ear, went down and closed the deal. 1 told 
him it was all right, I wonld go home and ship the seed to his ac- 
count, and when the seed were all in to tell Mr. Sloane to make 
the invoice to Scott Bond, Madison, Ark. When the last ear was 
in and Mr. Sloane was instructed to whom to make the check and 
invoice, he said to Mr. Gray: "Why that nigger has put me in 
the ditch I dug for hira. I had him turned down cold by every oil 
mill in the country." 

Mr. Sloane came over to Madison to see me. He foaud me at 
my gin plant. Mr. Sloane said to me: "Uncle Scott, you arc a 
dandy. I most congratulate you. You put me in the same 
diteh I dug for you." He enjoyed the incident and laughed 
good naturedly over my play. He said he would bo glad to handle 
my seed for the rest of the season and was willing to allow me a 
nice fancy profit. Prom that time on our business, relations were 
very pleasant and the Riclimond Cotton Oil Co., handled abont 
225 tons of seed for us at a nice proiit. 


I had a cancerous growth on my cheek and learning of a spe- 
cialist in ailments of this nature in Kansas City, I decided to visit 
him for treatment, as it was claimed he could eradicate the 
growth without the use of the knife. 

I was in Kansas City some 15 days and was out practically 
every day, taking in the city and surroundings. I had long 
heard it talked in the south, by numbers of colored people who 
had lived in the north, and from white people who had lived up 
there about the social difference between the races north and 
south. I had not been in the city many days until I had realized 
that the condition was just what I had long made up my mind 
that it was; i. e., that a Negro in the eyes of the majority of the 
white people was the same north and south and soon found out 
that the colored man's financial opportunity was far greater 
South, than north. I visited all the factories, and the Swift and 
Armour packing plants, which were the greatest I had seen up 
to that time. I saw miles and miles of viaducts over which 
thousands and thousands of head of stock were driven daily 
to the slaughter pens. In going through all the stockyards and 
slaughter pens, I saw hundreds of white people of apparently 
every nationality at work and was very much surprised to see 
no Negroes at work in all these vast places except two colored 
women and their job was to examine the tinware as it was made 
to see if it would leak. I had heard so much of the opportunity 
of colored people in these places that I was very much surprised 
to find the two women were the only colored employees. 

During my stay in Kansas City, I stopped with a very nice 
family, named Smith. After taking in a large part of the city 
I remarked to Mr. Smith that I was somewhat surprised. 

He asked me how. 


244 From Slavery to Wealth 

"I had always been informed by northern pecqtie visiting in -' 
the south that the colored people had better chances in the north 
than in the south." 

Mr. Smith said: "Why Mr. Bond, the rumorB going south 
along these lines are wrongly represented. Eight after the war 
I left the state of Mississippi with my wife on a wild goose 
chase to this place, in order to better my condition along all lines, 
and the only advantage I have found for colored people, is tiie 
better facilities for educating their children. I obtained a job 
in the post office as helper when I first arrived here and I have 
held the same position for years; have not lost a day, have never 
been late to my work, I have apparently given satlsfactiDn year 
in and year out. White men of all nationalities have been em- 
ployed here in places beneath mine and every one of these men 
has been promoted from time to time over me until they fill 
some of the best positions in this building. De^ite my faith- 
fulness and proven ability, I have never been promoted above 
the position in which I started. I am sure that if I had re- 
mained in the state of Mississippi on the farm and been as faith- 
ful there as here, I could by tiiis time have accumulated thous- 
ands of dollars. 

"My brothers and friends have frequently written nie of their 
success along financial lines in Mississippi. Today I have not 
saved a dollar above what it his taken to keep my family up. 
Mr. Bond, in my estimation the south is the only place for the 

I then visited Leavenworth, Kans., where the soldiers were 
stationed. This was one of the greatest events of my visit to 
Kansas. I found the post one of the most beautiful sights I had 
ever witnessed. I was accompanied to this place by Mr. Will 
Khoten, a brother-in-law to my oldest son. He was very dark 
but handsome, well built and nicely dressed. My son had writ- 
ten him and asked him to meet me at the train, chaperon me while 
in Leavenworth. He accompanied me to the beautiful spot 
where the soldiers were encamped. He showed me the ground 
and buildings and finally stopped at the barracks of the colored 
soldiers. Mr. Rhoten introduced me to the officers in charge. 

Life of Scott Bond 247 

It was 12 o'clock and about eating time. We had dinner and 
I enjoyed the dinner immensely. The hospitality was all that 
could be desired. Every thing was as neat and clean as a pocket 
in a shirt. 

When dinner was over the Sergeant in charge said to me: 
"Well Mr. Bond you are from the south." 

"Yes sir." 

"I want you for my benefit to relate to the boys something of 
the conditions of the south." 

I said : "Gentlemen the south is still on the map and is moving 
up along all lines morally, socially and financially." 

The Sergeant said : "Mr. Bond, I want to ask that you do us a 
favor. I see that you are going to say the things that will be 
of benefit to this barracks and I want the officers of the post to 
come down here, I want the officers to be present.** 

The note was handed to an orderly with instruction that he 
must report for duty when the officer arrived. 

In a few moments 10 or 12 of the white officers appeared. 
The Sergeant said : "Mr. Bond, in order to save time I will in- 
troduce you to some of the leading officers of this barracks by 
saying to them gentlemen I want to introduce you to Mr. Bond 
a farmer from the extreme south. I want him to tell us about 
the south and the north. 

They saluted saying: "Mr. Bond." 

I said gentlemen, I want to congratulate you on your splendid 
barracks, your beautiful flowers, on the neatness of your grounds 
as one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, and last but not 
least I want to further congratulate you on this regiment of 
colored soldiers. I must say in your behalf that you deserve 
great credit for training these soldiers. Your success has been 
wonderful. The only way one can tell they are colored soldiers 
is by their black skins. Their neatness and their politeness, 
their carriage place them as leaders in all the south. 

I want to say in behalf of our colored soldiers that the position 
they now hold is one of the grandest positions ever occupied by 
an American citizen. Your faithfulness and obedience to your 
commanding officers will I am sure bring you out more than 

248 From Slavery to Wealth 

conquerors. When you have filled your contract with your 
government and the officers before whom you now stand not only 
the Negroes of the south but all of the citizens of America will 
be proud to lift their hats to you, and will point with pride to the 
glory of your achievements. I want to say further that, we 
the Negroes of the south are looking upwards and onward to 
■greater efforts and successes along all lines. 

Hundreds and hundreds of the race are doing their duty 
serving God and striving each day to be better citizens. And 
4For myself let me say here, I am leaving no chip unturned. I 
have educated all my boys who are old enough to receive it in 
the college in the city of Nashville. They have returned home 
with their sheepskins and are now taking hold of the wonderful 
opportunities offered in the south. And Sergt. Rhoten of 
your regiment who is a brother-in-law to my oldest son, who has 
paid us several visits is in a position to substantiate all that I 
have said. Now when you have finished your term of enlist- 
ment with the government I beg and plead with you to return to 
the south, which is in one sense of the word, our fatherland, 
which is the greatest and only place that nature has prepared for 
us to dwell. We, the Negroes of the south despite our mishaps 
are letting down our buckets where we are. 

We live in a part of the country where we can master one of 
the greatest commodities of the American continent, the fleecy 
cotton that is grown by southern Negroes. 

It seems to me that providence has prepared the south for us. 
We are the only nationality on the globe that can master the sit- 
uation properly. The cotton plant can stand more brutal treat- 
ment than any other plant on earth. For this cause and many 
others I believe the south to be the natural home of our race. I 
can say for myself that I started in 1875 with nothing and now 
pay taxes on $250,000 worth of property, and can say that I am 
really proud of the reputation I have made among all races and 
especially among the better class of white people. The bonds 
of friendship between the white man and the Negro grows 
stronger every day. We have more banks, more money, and the 
lands are increasing in prices.'' 

Life of Scott Bond 249 

Upon my return to Kansas City I was shown one of the sta- 
tions of the underground railroad over which so many slaves 
travelled to freedom. The building was peculiar from 
all other buildings. The manner and plan of its erection caused 
me to inquire about it. It was situated on the bank of the Mis- 
souri river, and was very attractive because of its color. It is 
the only building I ever saw that was painted black. In con- 
versation with one of the old white residents of that city, the 
whole story of the U. G. R. R. was related to me. I was told 
among other slave escapes the story of Henry Box Brown. The 
gentleman who told me these stories was anxious to have me meet 
Bishop Grant, of the African Methodist Church, who at that 
time lived in Kansas City, and after my return to my room, I 
had a telephone call from Bishop Grant asking for Mr. Bond 
from Arkansas. I replied : "Yes sir, this is he." 

"Well Mr. Bond I would like to have a man of your reputation 
come out and have dinner with me tomorrow at 2 o'clock." 

"Thank you Bishop but I have an appointment at that hour, 
but as I will be in the city for a week more I shall be glad to ac- 
cept your invitation at any other time you may appoint." 

"Then Mr. Bond, the next day at the same hour, if it meets 
your convenience." 

"Thank you Bishop, I shall be glad to avail myself of the op- 

Promptly at the appointed time I met Bishop Grant at his home 
and introduced myself as the little man from Arkansas. 

"Walk in Mr. Bond. I am really glad to meet you." 

I was very favorably impressed with Bishop Grant. He was* 
a man of large stature, fine appearance and a head full of brains. 
He immediately began to ask me questions pertaining to the 
customs of the south and the relations between the Negro and 
the white man. The answering of these questions seemed to 
impress the Bishop very much. 

When dinner was ready, we repaired to the dining room. A 
delicious meal was elegantly served. The dinner seemed to 
strengthen the Bishop's questioning powers, as to the south and 
its customs. 

250 From Slavery to Wealth 

He said : "Mr. Bond, from the way you answer my questions, 
about the relations between the races in the south, conditions 
are far better than I had been led to believe. I should be glad 
to take you around and show you our different enterprises.'* 

He showed me a beautiful building that had been taken by the 
white and colored people as a hospital for colored people. It 
was nicely arranged and the appointments were of the latest and 
best It was neat and clean, and seemed to have everything de- 
manded in sanitation. We next visited school, where 

I was introduced to the faculty, and was requested by them to 
address the school in my own way, which I did and it seemed 
to please every one. 

This school was well equipped and had several shops for the 
manufacture of farm implements. 

When we returned to Bishop Grant's home he asked me how 
I was impressed with the advantages of his northern town. 

I replied to him that so far as his hospital and schools were 
concerned, it was grand and then asked him if he did not believe 
the south was the real home of the black people. 

He said that he really did, but would like for me to state my 
reason for so believing. 

I said to him: "We have our bitters in the south, and I 
have always heard that where there was no bitter there was no 
sweet, and the sweet of the south, is so much greater than the 
bitter, for the colored man, it makes me believe the south is 
really our home. The races are rapidly beginning to under- 
stand each other along financial lines. I note all the legislation 
of the south has tended to broaden the channel between the two 
races along the lines of so-called social equality. All this betters 
our condition because it drives us closer together and helps us 
in many different ways." 

He then asked me what I thought of the influence of Christian- 
ity on the southern Negro. 

I told him they were making wonderful progress among the 

He asked me why I thought so and what was bringing about 
this condition. 

Life of Scott Bond 251 

I told him that since we had learned to discard the two by four 
preacher, and were following such men as himself and others of 
great character and ability, there was graduallly developing a 
higher, a holier and more spiritual conception and practice of 
Christianity by colored people. 

He then asked me of the economic or financial growth of the 
Southern Negro. 

I told him they were making great strides in the acquisition 
of material wealth. They were bu3ring land, building houses 
and rearing better families than they had heretofore. The 
white man of the south was improving the Negro every day, by 
offering better chances for financial development. And I 
thought that the southern Negro had spent more money for 
hymn books and Bibles than any other race in the world, for 
their means. 

Mr. Rhoten had often spoken to me of the advantages of liv- 
ing in the north, that a colored man could go to places of public 
entertainment any where and would be treated the same as a 
white man. 

I had my doubts about this, so on one sultry August afternoon 
we were passing a fine cafe, where they dispensed soda water and 
ice cream. I said to Mr. Rhoten : "Let's have some soda water 
and ice cream.*' 

"All right Mr. Bond, there is a nice place down here where we 
can be served." 

I said : "No I don't want a nicer place than this cafe." 

I remembered what Mr. Rhoten had said and thought thi^ 
would be a good time to put the thing to a test. He still insisted 
that we should go to another place. I turned suddenly and said 
here is the place lets go in. This was one of the most up-to-date 
places of the kind I had ever seen. 

When I walked in I could readily see that it was exclusively 
for white people. 

But as I had made up my mind to convince Mr. Rhoten, I ven- 
tured to carry the thing through. When we walked in, the 
tables were so arranged that they seated four persons. I walked 
up to a table where two white men were seated. I gave Mr. 


From Slavery to Wealth 

Rhoten a chair and invited him to take a seat and sat down my- 
self. We had not been seated very long, when another table was 
vacated. The two white men got up and moved over to it. 
This showed me conclusively that Mr. Rhoten was mistaken in 
bis way of looking at things in the north. We sat there for at 
least 30 minutes. No one had yet come to take our order. I 
raised up out of my seat, looked at Mr. Rhoten, who was very 
dark, and exclaimed in « very loud tone: "Now Mr. Rhoten, 
don't ever come south any more and tell me and my people that 
there is no discrimination in public houses in the north. I am 
a southern Negro and am proud of the financial opportunities 
offered us in the south. This conversation attracted the atten- 
tion of all who were in the cafe and aJl stopped talking to listen 
to our conversation. The proprietor finally spoke and said: 
"Take your seat and I will have you served." 

I have always felt above pushing myself in places where I was 
not welcome, both north and south. 

Mr. Rhoten and I walked out We had a hearty lauj^. I 
told him I would not put him to another such test while I was 
in the city. 


Food and feed became exceedingly scarce in the later years 
of the war. The Union and Confederate soldiers had taken 
turns in ridding the country of these things. There were no 
meat, no salt, no tea, no coffee, no bread except a little com 
bread and that had to be sparingly used. For salt the dirt from 
the smoke house floor was dug and put up ash hopper fashion. 
This was leached out, and the perfectly clear water that dripped 
from the hoppers was used to salt the food. At one time, when 
cleaning the barrels and trash from the smoke house, there was 
thrown out with the other rubbish, a piece of old dried beef that 
had fallen from its hangings. It lay in the heap for some time 
until it rained on it and softened it. Scott's mother noticed 
that the dogs had been gnawing at it. She picked it up and 
found upon examination that it was perfectly sound. She took 
in to the wood pile, got the ax and chopped away the part the dogs 
had been gnawing, washed it and then chipped some of it off 
and cooked it. She prepared some for her mistress and gave 
some to Scott. He says it was the best dried beef he had ever 
tasted. Think what this must have meant to people who had 
not tasted meat for six or eight months. 

One night, Mr. Bond's step-father went some eight miles 
away on a foraging expedition. He secured a yearling that was 
really fat and brought it home. He cut it up and Scott's mother 
cooked some of it. Just about daybreak they awakened little 
Scott and asked him if he did not want some meat. He said yes, 
he arose, got a hunk of com bread and went to the pot with a 
flesh fork and took out a piece. Again the superlative applies. 
At breakfast time Scott's mother wanted the mistress to have 
a bite of the delicious beef. She took some on a plate and when 
the madam, who had been used to breakfasting on a com doger 


254 From Slavery to Wealth 

and such wild stuff as could be gathered in the fields, came into 
her dining room, she inquired where the meat came from. 
Fearing trouble if the truth were known, she was informed that 
Scott's step-father had killed a bear. The almost famished 
woman ate the meat and wanted more but was persuaded to 
wait until dinner time as too much might be injurious, since 
meat had been so long absent from her table. 

She said : "No Ann, bear meat never makes one sick, no matter 
how much they eat." She finally consented to wait until dinner 

The ensuing year showed very forcibly what hard times really 
were. There was no com, no hay, no meat, no salt; the only 
com we saw was the seed com we planted. Mrs. Bond had 80 
bushels of wheat in the garrett of the great house. That would 
be sacked up and taken some distance to be ground on an old 
fashioned com mill. On the way to the mill travel would be by 
night and hide in the daytime from "Jay-hawkers." 

We would have batter cakes and butter milk for breakfast, 
peas and greens for dinner and sweet milk and mush for supper, 
all cooked without other seasoning than salt water from the hop- 
pers. The mush was black because it was made from the wheat 
ground on the corn mill and not bolted. 

Mr. Bond says that the crop that year was the best he had 
ever seen and there was not a sick person on the place that year. 

At one time the rebel soldiers hauled 240 bales of cotton out 
on the lawn and cut the hoops loose. One of the officers told 
Scott's step-father that he could have all the cotton he could 
steal that night and put where he could not see it, for the next 
morning he was going to set fire to it and bum it, to keep it out 
of the hands of the Yankees. 

Mr. Bond says : **My step-father took me from the feather bed 
and removed the under tick, emptied the straw from it and with 
the assistance of another old man removed and hid two bales of 
cotton, which later was smuggled into Memphis and sold for 
$1.10 per pound. From this it can be seen how much 240 bales 
that went up in flames would have brought. 

Life of Scott Bond 257 

Mr. Bond says : "I stood and looked at the burning cotton and 
wondered to myself if those men knew how many drops of 
sweat it took to produce it." 

When the Cotton was sold in Memphis, certain purchases 
were made: one pint of salt, $5.00; $2.50 a yard for check goods. 
About that time Mrs. Bond, the mistress was showing signs of 
mental derangement and had asked Scott's step-father to bring 
her a gallon of peach brandy which he did at a cost of $25.00. 


I have said little about my mother. She was a slave and as 
such was house maid. This brought her in close contact with 
the white people and gave her training not common to the masses 
of colored women of her day. Her duties were such however, 
that she could give but little attention to me. Still her sympathy 
and love for me was as great as any woman ever bore in her 
bosom for a son. I can remember on one occasion when I was 
quite small my heels were chapped. In those days, Negro boys 
were not allowed to wear shoes until 12 or 14 years of age. 
When I would walk early in the morning or late in the evening, 
blood that would ooze from the cracks in my feet, would mark 
my tracks. 

On one occasion when my mother had finished her task as maid 
in the house she came to me late at night and took me from my 
bed to look at my feet. In those days, tallow was the cure all. 
One of my heels was so chapped and cracked open that one could 
almost lay his finger in the opening. She got some tallow and 
warmed it in a spoon and having no idea how hot it was poured 
it into the crack in my heel. As I held my heel up and my toe 
on the floor, the hot tallow filled the crack and ran down over my 
foot to my toes. I cried because of the intense pain the hot 
grease caused. My mother quieted me as best she could and 
put me to bed. When she got up next morning she examined 
my foot and to her amazement the hot tallow had raised a blister 
full length of my foot as large as one's finger. When she saw 
this she cried as if her heart would break and said as the tears 

258 From Slavery to Wealth 

streamed down her cheeks : **I did not mean to bum my child. I 
did not dream the tallow was so hot." 

As mentioned before, slave boys rarely wore shoes until they 
were 12 or 14 years of age. It was great fun to go 'possum and 
coon hunting in those days or rather nights. Young Scott 
would take long trips through the woods and swamps with the 
other slaves and would risk all the dangers of briers and of bein^r 
bitten by poisonous reptiles because of his bare feet. 

On one occasion when the dogs had treed a 'possum little Scott 
was the one to climb the tree and shake him out. The 'possum 
was away out on the end of a limb. The boys and men on the 
ground assured him the limb would not break. He let go the 
body of the tree and started out on the limb, which broke under 
the added weight and there was a squirming mixture of limb 
boy, 'possum and snapping dogs on the ground. Fortunately he 
was not bitten. Scott came out of the scrimage victorious with 
a fall and a 'possum. 

On these trips the hunt would continue until all were loaded 
down with game, then they would return home. 

On another occasion his mother had secured a pair of old 
boot tops and had a pair of shoes made for him. The first time 
he went out his mother insisted that he wear the shoes. He put 
them on and started out. When he reached the wood pile he 
pulled off the shoes and hid them in the wood pile because their 
unfamiliar weight cumbered his progress. 

It was on one of these hunting excursions that he so sprained 
his ankle that the next morning his foot was as large as two feet. 
An old slave woman advised him to hold his foot in cold 
water. He accordingly crawled to the well where the mules 
were watered and i)ut his foot in the tub of water standing there. 
One of the hands rode up to water his mules and compelled the 
boy to take his foot out of the tub. The mules drank all the 
water and left the tub empty. 

Scott put his foot back into the tub and shortly another man 
came along, drew water for his mules and then filled the tub 
for Scott's benefit. About this time the overseer came along 
and asked him what he was doing. Scott withdrew his foot 

life of Scott Bond 259 

from the water and showed him his swollen ankle. When asked 
about it he explained the cau'e of the accident. The overseer 
called one of the hands and had him empty the tub and fill it with 
fresh water for Scott and told him that was the best thing he 
could do. 

Mr. Bond says that after all these years as he looks back upon 
that time, he wonders whether it was kindness in the overseer or 
the saving of a valuable Negro boy that prompted the action. 

His mother was away above the average slave woman, in her 
training being a housemaid and seamstress in the days before 
the sewing machine. She came in daily contact with the most 
cultured and refined white women and was thereby immensely 
benefited. She had no time to give to her boy except late at 
night when her daily work was through and most other peo- 
ple were in bed. For this reason, Scott missed his mother's 
kindly ministrations in the years when most needed. 

Poultry wire was unknown, the poultry yards were fenced 
with rails to keep the hogs from devouring the young fowls. 
Imagine if you can, a rail fence built tight enough to keep the 
hogs out and little goslings, turkeys and chickens in. It was one 
of little Scott's principal duties to march around the poultry 
yard and look after the young fowls. In cold weather the frost 
would bite his bare feet. In rainy weather he acted as a 
brooder. Boys in those days wore single garments, a long sack- 
like slip with holes cut for head and arms. When it rains, 
goslings will stand with their heads up and drown in a short time 
if left to themselves. Little Scott would gather little goslings 
under his slip as the hen hovers her brood and thus protect them 
from the falling rain. It must have been a ticklish task to have 
a half hundred little geese under one's single garment scrouging 
and crowding for warmth. 

After the war when his step father started out on his own 
hook, Scott's mother continued in the same line that she had been 
trained. It was Scott's duty to see after the fowls and at times 
to look out for the welfare of the sitting hens. His mother 
would mark the eggs which she would put under the hen 
ready to set. Scott would have to keep the nests in repair and 

260 From Slavery to Wealth 

keep fresh eggs from the sitters' nests. Upon one occasion^ 
Scott in his round, found a nest out of repair. He removed the 
hen, took the eggs from the nest and put them on the ground. 
He repaired the nest, put the hen back on the nest and left the 
eggs on the ground. The next morning his mother discovered 
the eggs on the ground and took the boy to task for his absent 
mindedness. Drawing him across her lap, she took her slipper 
and was applying the treatment in the most approved way. 
That the operation was painful to Scott, goes without the say- 
ing. His mother told him she was not punishing him for the 
value of the eggs, but because of his forgetf ulness ; and seeing 
far into the future she told him further that his absent minded- 
ness was the only thing that would ever "misput" him in life. 
Scott noticing the tone of her voice looked up and found her 
crying. He says, that from that moment, he felt no further 
pain from the slipper as his mother continued for some little time 
to wield it. 


The writer has known Mr. Bond quite intimately for a number 
of years. He is in many ways remarkable. His mind is as 
alert and logical as the mind of any one that has come under his 
observation. One most unusual thing is that Mr. Bond's mind is 
always clear, yet he is at times the most forgetful mortal alive. 

Many years back he drove with his wife to Forrest City. He 
left ber in a store while he went to transact some other business. 
Wher he got through he drove home. Upon his arrival one of his 
children said: "Pa where is ma?" 

Mr. Bond said : "There now, I left her in Forrest City." 

He turned his horse around and drove back to town for his 

Life of Scott Bond 263 


One time when I was down in the swamps hauling logs, about 
4 o'clock in the afternoon I saw a double rig. I said to myself, 
''It means something to see a double rig come away down in the 
swamps like this." 

There sprang from the conveyance a well dressed noble look- 
ing gentleman. He came to me and said : "I suppose this is Mr. 

I said : "Yes sir, this is Bond." 

''Mr. Bond, this is Mr. Saul, but not the Saul that we read 
about in the Bible. I am here representing Memphis parties 
who want to make a deal with you for your gravel in Crow 

"What do you want to pay me for it?" 

"What do you want for it?" 

"I don't know." 
Why is it you don't know?" 
I reckon it is because I haven't got sense enough." 

"What am I to do ? The company has sent me here to buy it 
and we want to know what you want for it." 

"Go back and tell the company you have found the gravel and 
the Negro that owns it but he did not have sense enough to make 
a price for it." 

"That would be no advantage to the company." 

"Suppose you name me a price for it." 

"I can't do that," he replied. 

"That looks strange to me. You must be a smart man or the 
company would not have sent you out here. You want the 
gravel and you can't say what you will give for it Then give 
me an approximate price, about what you will give for it" 
"How would $2.00 per car catch you, and we load it?" 
"I dropped my head and began thinking. It looked as if I 
could see piles of money way up ahead of me. I thought of the 
thousands of car loads of gravel in the creek. His proposition 
looked so good that I was afraid to say yes. I finally looked up 


264 From Slavery to Wealth 

and said are you in a position to close the deal with me this 

"No, but I can within the next ten days." 

"Go back and tell your company that you have found the 
gravel and the price. If I charge you any more than that you 
can't tell the difference." 

"You will hear from me in the next few days." 

Mr. Saul went back to see the committee and upon inquiring: 
found that they would have to pay $5.00 per car for crossing the 
bridge at Memphis. 

In a few days I had a letter from Mr. Saul stating these facts 
and that they would not be able to take the gravel. 

At that time I did not own more than 20 feet of the said 
gravel pit which extended lengthways through a 160 acre farm. 
I saw that I had to get busy and make some arrangements by 
which I could buy the farm. 

At this time the farm was owned by another party who had 
bought it from the New England Mortgage Co., and had five 
years to pay for it in. I was so deeply interested in this deal 
that I did not sleep any that night. I had breakfast and was in 
my saddle bright and early to see the other party. There had 
been a severe storm a few weeks before which blew down his 
house and bam. I had heard that the party said he was going 
to pay the rent on the farm and was going to turn it back. 
When I arrived on the fann the man was gone, but I did not stop 
until I found him. He was three miles away plowing in another 
man's field. 

I said: "Hello Mr. Walker, what are you doing here plowing? 
You have a good farm and good land. How is it you are work- 
ing with this man?" 

"I needed a little cash and I thought this was the best way to 
get it." 

"I heard some time ago that you were going to pay the rent on 
that place and turn it back. Is there anything of it?" 

"Yes, Mr. Bond, the storm came and blew down the house and 
bam and the Company wants $1,500 for it so I decided to pay 
the rent on it and turn it back." 



Life of Scott Bond 265 

"That is a number one good farm Mr. Walker and as you 
have a wife and children I think you are making a mistake." 

"Maybe I am, but the way times are now and at the present 
low price of cotton, I feel that I will never be able to support my 
family and dig $1,500 out of that farm." 

"Suppose you let me have an option on that farm?" 

"What do you mean by an option?" 

"I will pay you $5.00 in money and when you pay the rent and 
get ready to turn it back, I will be in your shoes. I will have 
charge of the farm." ' 

'Do you aim to pay the cash right now ?" 
Tes, just as soon as you get to the court house and have the 
proper contract drawn up." 

"That is just like stooping down and picking up $5.00." 

"Yes, you are right about that. I am ready now. We will 
go right now." 

He got his wife, we all went to the court house, the writings 
were drawn and the money was paid. 

In a few weeks after that the R. I. Ry. which had bought my 
brother-in-law's gravel which lay south of me and exhausted his 
pit, and came to me to buy my gravel. 

The Road Master said, "I understand that you own all the 
gravel above here, is this gravel for sale?" 

"Yes sir." 

"The company instructed me to find out if it could be bought." 

In a few days, the superintendent of the road sent his attorney 
to make the deal with me for the gravel. 

He asked me what money would buy it. 

"I have been offered a royalty of $2.00 per car." 

"I am sure my company will not pay that for it." 

"Well, that's my price on it." 

"That settles it. We will not pay that for it." 

"lAU right my friend there is no harm done." 

The next week the bull-dog of the bone yard, the superinten- 
dent of the road came down in his palace car, and brought with 
him the attorney and some other officials. 

He sent me word to my store to come at once and meet him 

266 From Slavery to Wealth 

out at the gravel pit. When I arrived the gentlemen were all 
out of the car and walking up and down the gravel beds. I 
met them and said, "Good morning gentlemen." 

Mr. Cahill, the superintendent said: "I suppose this is Mr. 

"No, Mr. Cahill, this is not Mr. Bond, this is Uncle Scott Bond. 
I have my doubts as to whether you mean the word Mr. or not, 
and if you do you can not afford it here in the south. So 70a 
will please call me Uncle Scott." 

There was a hearty laugh between the superintendent and his 

"All right Uncle Scott we came down here to buy your gravel 
and want to know what you will take for it." 
'My price is $2.00 per car royalty." 

Tou will never sell your gravel at that lick. We would not 
think of paying that for it." 

"All right gentlemen there is no harm done." 

"About how many cars of gravel have you here?" 
I could not really say. Somewhere about 20,000 cars." 

'About how long have you owned this gravel pit?" 

"0, I can't remember the exact date. I think about three 

"What was your object in buying this gravel pit?" 

"My object was speculation and profit." 

"Is this man that lives right below you here whose gravel we 
bought, your brother-in-law ?" 

"Yes, that is correct sir." 

"We bought his gravel for i^ cent a yard." 

"That is true sir, but he was not nine days old and did not 
have his eyes open. Your company nor no other company will 
ever remember buying this for 1/2 cent a yard. That man made 
you a present of his gravel, but there is no reason on earth why 
I should do the same thing." 

"How far does your line go above here?" 

"About half a mile." 

"Let's walk up to your line." 

"Here we go." 


Life of Scott Bond 267 

We walked up to within about 200 yards of the line and sat 
down on a log. 

Mr. Cahill said : "Bond you have a nice gravel bed here." 

*'Yes sir." 

"Our company will never consent to pay you $2.00 per car 
royalty. I will go back to Little Rock and report to head- 
quarters stating to them we will have to make other arrange- 
ments as there is no possible chance of buying your gravel.'' 

"All right, Mr. Cahill tiiere is no harm done. This gravel 
will not bum up. It will be here the balance of my days and if 
I don't get the value of it my wife and children will when I am 

I had several of my white friends after that, who said : "Uncle 
Scott you have made a wide mistake. You could have made 
thousands of dollars selling your gravel to the railroad company 
at their price." 

"Gentlemen, this may be true but I can't see it that way." 

Ten days later I got a letter from the officials of the road at 
Little Rock enclosing transportation there and back saying they 
wanted to close the deal with me for the gravel. 

I had my son answer the letter telling them I begged to be ex- 
cused. I was very busy at the time arranging my farming af- 
fairs and it was a matter of impossibilty for me to get off. I 
was returning the transportation with many thanks. 

The next week Mr. Cahill ran his palace car to my town where 
I lived and sent the porter over to my store to tell me to come 
over to the depot, that he wanted to see me. 

I told him to go back and tell Mr. Cahill he must really ex- 
cuse me as I had some very important business to attend to at 
the bank of Forrest City. I was just getting into my buggy. 
If he really wished to see me I would see him after I got through 
with my business at the bank. 

By the time I got to Forrest City in my buggy, Mr. Cahill had 
gone to Forrest City with his car and had his porter standing 
at the bank waiting for me. He remarked that : Mr. Cahill is at 
the depot on his car waiting to see you at once." 

268 From Slavery to Wealth 

"All right." We walked on side by side together until we got 
opposite the bank, and as I attempted to step in he grabbed me, 
and I tried to get loose, he said : 

"Mr. Cahill wants to see you and he is the superintendent of 
the railroad." 

I looked the young man in the face and smiled and said to him : 
^*Yes and I am superintendent of all my own business. I will 
see him as soon as I am through with my business in the bank." 

This attracted the attention of the bankers. I walked in and 
the young man came in behind me. We all had a little laugh 
and when I was through with my business in the bank I said, 
"All right young man we will go." 

When we arrived at the car the porter opened the door and 
invited me into the car. I lifted my hat and spoke to Mr. Cahill. 

He greeted me and said : "Bond I came to see if there was any 
possible chance to make a deal with you for the gravel." 

"Yes sir, certainly. Of course the gravel is for sale." 

"We will never be able to give you $2.00 per car for it. At 
that price you would make millions of dollars off that gravel pit." 

"That may be true, but at that price if the gravel answers your 
purpose for ballast it will be cheap to the company." 

"Why to think of it. The idea of me buying your brother-in- 
laws gravel for 1/2 cent a yard and here you want me to pay you 
$2.00 a car." 

"Mr. Cahill that is no argument whatever. My brother-in- 
law is a good old modest Christian and he left the price entirely 
to you, believing and thinking your conscience would make you 
treat him right about it, and I suppose you did, but that day 
you left your conscience at home. You could not have given the 
old Negro less than 1/2 cent a yard. I am going to make you a 
proposition Mr. Cahill. I am going to see what is in you. I am 
going to cut the price down to $1.25 per car." 

"Now Uncle Scott that looks as if you are using some judg- 

"Yes, that is judgment in favor of the Company and disas- 
trous to myself." 

Life of Scott Bond 269 

"Now/* said Mr. Cahill, "I will make you a price, I will pay 
you 85 cents a car." 

This price raised me from my chair. I grabbed my hat and 
said, "Good evening Mr. Cahill.'* 

"Hold on Bond wait We want to get together in this gravel 

"No, we will never get together. I see we are too far apart.'^ 
I bade the gentleman good evening and pulled out for home. 
About two days after this interview, a man walked into my 
store and said: "Good morning is this Uncle Scott Bond?" 

"Yes, this is Bond." 

He was very commonly dressed with a slouch hat, rough 
looking shoes and overalls. 

He said : "You have a very nice store here." 

"Yes, it does tolerably well for out in the country in the 

He remarked : "I understand that you have two or three good 

"Yes sir the officials of this county make me pay taxes on 12 
farms, and the truth is we Negroes should own all the farms* 
We have them all to work." 

"I guess you are right." 

I noticed the gentleman, from his conversation was cultured 
and very refined. He finally said : "I understand that the rail- 
road company has been trying to buy your gravel." 

"No, that is not true they have been asking me to give it to 
them and that I do not expect to do." 

"What did they finally offer you?" 

"They offered to pay me 35 cents a car for it." 

"Don't you really believe that you can make big nloney at 

"Yes sir, I can make a little money at 35 cents a car, but that 
is nothing like the value of it and I don't intend to sell to any 
one at that price." 

"How would 40 cents a car catch you?" 

"Do you mean to say you would give me 40 cents a car?" 

270 From Slavery to Wealth 

"Yes, if I can close the deal with you I will give you 40 cents a 

"You are a stranger to me. What bank or where could you 
give me reference that I might know as to your responsibility." 

"I can give you reference to any bank in Little Rock, that you 
prefer and also the Rock Island railroad." 

I dropped my head and thought a while and said to the gen- 
tleman. "When you see Mr. Cahill, tell him you are not half 

The gentleman laughed and we jollied around and finally bade 
me good bye and left me. 

The next week Mr. Cheney, the station agent of the railroad 
at Madison came into the store and handed me a telegram. It 
was from Mr. Cahill and stated that he would be down on a cer- 
tain day to go over the gravel situation with me, and requested 
me to meet him at the spur. 

On the day appointed I met him at the spur and climbed into 
his car and we went over the spur as far as it ran, got out and 
went up into the gravel pit. We walked up into the pit about 
half way and sat down on a log. 

He said, "I understood you to say that you bought this gravel 
pit for speculation." 

"That is correct." 

"Well if you don't sell it to us it will be impossible for you to 
find a market for it." 

Mr. Cahill, do you see that big hole up yonder?" 


"Do you see all these holes up and down through here?" 


"Well the Iron Mountain came in here with a crew and spent 
a whole day in here digging holes and inspecting this gravel and 
have made two surveys for a track to this gravel pit." 

We all got up and walked over to one of the holes that had 
been dug. 

"This gravel goes down quite a distance," he said. 

"But the Iron Mountain people will never come in here." 
He pointed down stream toward my brother-in-law's and said, 

Life of Scott Bond 273 

"You know I have a contract with your brother-in-law for his 
gravel for as long as we want it. I will wait and let the flood 
rains wash the gravel down there and get it from him." 

This stampeded me for a few minutes. I raised my head and 
looked him in the face. "If you have got the gall to look a poor 
old Negro in the face and tell him you are going to wait for 
Providence to rob him and then you get the washings for 
nothing, do you know what I am going to do?" 


"You see that narrow place down the creek there?" 


"I am going to get my log wagons and haul and sink piling 
and nail plank on them to prevent the gravel from going down." 

"You can't do that." 

"Yes sir, I saw a man drive some fence posts across this creek 
and nail the plank on three and four inches apart. When the 
creek got up the leaves and trash stopped the cracks and the 
gravel accumulated until it was as high as one's head on horse 

"If you do that you will overflow the farm. Isn't this your 

"Yes, this is a farm that I gave my wife. It is a very sorry 
farm. It rarely grows anything except a little hay and peas. 
This farm hardly amounts to anything. I have 16 farms on St. 
Francis river which is the most fertile land in Eastern Arkansas, 
and before I would give my gravel away, if I could I would set 
fire to it and bum it up." 

We had a hearty laugh with Mr. Cahill and his brother officials. 

"It looks as though you don't aim to let us have the gravel at 

"Well yes, I am really anxious to sell the gravel, but I have a 
great wife and if I would give the gravel away my wife would 
leave me." 

"I now offer you 40 cents a car for your gravel." 

"Mr. Cahill that is no inducement. You offered me 40 cents 
last week." 

"I never met you last week." 



274 From Slavery to Wealth 

"No you did not but a man came to my store and offered me 
40 cents and I was sure you sent him." 
'Did he tell you I sent him to you ?" 

'No sir, he did not, but when I asked him for reference he gave 
me every bank in Little Rock and the Rock Island Railroad and 
that made me know that you had sent him to offer 40 cents." 

"We need the gravel it is convenient here to us and I would 
like to handle it for you." 

"All right sir, I am very anxious to make a deal with you for 
the gravel. I will make you a price of 45 cents. How does that 
catch you. Come let's close the deal." 

"Mr. Cahill you are coming by degrees. It is slow but I guess 
it is sure. I had my mind made up at the start not to take less 
than $2.00 as I had been offered $2.00, but as the Lord says 
to the sinners to make one step toward me and I will make two to- 
ward you. I am going to make two steps toward you by falling 
down to an even dollar." 

"Uncle Scott there is no chance for us to trade the company 
never will stand for me to pay you a dollar royalty on this 

"Well I am too broad minded Mr. Cahill to ask you to do 
something that the company would not approve of." 

He replied : "I am sure at that price you would be able to get 
as much as $40 a day royalty and you would get $40 a day royalty 
when we get in here with our steam shovel." 

"That is true Mr. Cahill but $100 a day would be better." 
"You will never be able to get that for your gravel." So 
good l)yG." 

"Good bye Mr. Cahill, call again when it is convenient." 

He laughed and said : "All right." 

The next day Mr. Pierson who was at that time attorney for 
the Rock Island came down. Mr. Pierson, born and reared in the 
south was a cultured hightone gentleman. He came into the 
store and I invited him into mj' office. We sat down. He said: 

"Uncle Scott I came over to see if there was any possible 
chance for me to make a trade with you for your gravel, for the 
Rock Island Railroad." 

Life of Scott Bond 275 

"The gravel is for sale, Mr. Pierson, and I would certainly be 
glad to make a deal to sell it to the Rock Island Railroad." 

**The price that I have been offered Mr. Pierson will never buy 

**I now make you a proposition of 50 cents a car for the 
gravel. ' ' 

**Mr. Pierson, that is not enough money. How long will it take 
you to get what gravel you need for your roadt" 

**I could not answer that question. It would require thousands of 
car loads of gravel to ballast our road, and we expect to put in a 
steam shoyel so we can load something like 100 cars per day." 

**And we will be using gravel from time to time, as long as the 
Rock Island Railroad is in existence; and as you know this pit is 
inexhaustible. There will be gi*avel here for ages and ages. I 
am sure fifty cents per car is a top price and more than we have 
ever paid anyone from whom we have taken this amount of gravel." 

**A11 right, Mr. Pierson, I will take fifty cents a car for it, for a 
few thousand cars, anyhow." 

**You have a nice price. Uncle Scott, I am sure." 

'*Now Mr. Pierson, the next thing is a contract." 

*'He agreed to write a contract and send it to me for inspection 
by my lawyer. 

**In a few days the contract arrived, and with several modifica- 
tions was agreed to. In the contract was a clause, making pay- 
ments due and payable the 15th of each calendar month ; the com- 
pany to furnish me at the close of each day a report of each 
car loaded ; and also a clause requiring either party to give thirty 
days notice before the contract could be terminated. 

'*At the expiration of the first month, the Company owed me 
5r380.00 for gravel loaded, and I received a check for $80.00 only. 
When I added up my daily reports 1 found the amount paid $300 

'*My son said, 'Pa, let's write them at once, and show them 
their mistake. ' 

I told him no; the Company would make it all right next month. 
The next month our daily reports showed that the Com])any 
owed us over $500.00. We received a voucher for only $300, 

2TG From Slavery to Wealth 

which was $200.00 sJiort of the amount for that month. Then my 
soil grot wild and said : 

'' *Papa, I told you that!' 

*'This manner of payment continued for six months. By this 
time the daily reports showed that the Company owed us a balance 
of over $900.00. 

*'Then I told my son to get his tj^ewriter and we would have 
to go after the Rock Island people good and hard. 

*'He was ready and eager. I told him to address Mr. Cahill, 
Superintendent of the Rock Island Railway: 

** 'Mr. Cahill, this will, according to the terms of our contract, 
notify you to stop loading gravel at my pit at the expiration of 
thirty days.' " 

*'What else, pa?*' 

**That is all. I signed it and had him register it that I might be 
sure of its delivery. 

*'A few days later the road master called at my office to know 
why I had notified them to stop loading gravel. 

**I told him the reason was because they had not complied with 
the contract. I was asked in what way? 

'*You arc not paying me the money as you agreed to pay me." 

^'I have been toM that your voucher was forwarded 3"ou each 
calendar month/' 

*'That is true, but the vouchers were not large enough — Son, 
turn to your gravel account and let me see. Get your reports for 
each month, and explain to the gentleman the difference.'' 

**This was a very nice gentleman. After checking the report 
for the first month and comparing the voucher, he said : 

*^That will do; I suppose the remainder are as you say they are. 
And you say the Company owes you a balance of $900.00?'' 

'*Yes sir, that is correct." 

''I will go to the office this evening and explain the matter, and 
have them remit you at once."' 

'*In due time the voucher for the $900 came and enclosed with 
it was a blank withdrawal notice for me to si<rn and return to 
Little Rock. I acknowledged receipt of the $900.00 Imt did not 
mention the notice. 

' fe^ ■ 



r '■"■■' 

life of Scott Bond 279 

'*I was shortly afterward requested by the road master to with- 
draw my notice that they might not be stopped from loading 

**I declined to do it on the ground that I had been mistreated in 
other ways. 

**He asked what I meant by other ways. 

'*Well, sir, I had rather explain that to Mr. Cahill, the superin- 

The gentleman bade me goodbye, and said, ''"We can get togeth- 
er, and shall try to do so at once." 

''The next morning the Station Agent at Madison came to my 
office and notified me that Mr. Cahill had authorized him to furnish 
me a pass to Little Bock; that he wanted to see me. 

*'I managed to get all my plows in good running order, and 
the next morning, took the train for Little Bock. 

**I called at Mr. Cahill 's office. After the usual greetings were 
exchanged, Mr. Cahill said: 

^'What is the trouble you want to stop us from loading gravel!" 
''Mr. Cahill, the Company is in debt to me. It is good honest 
money and I think I ought to have it." 

**We sent you the balance of the money we owed you on the 

'* Yes. sir, you did; but you owe me outside of that $580." 

•'How's that!" 

*'You owed me for some mules and cattle that you killed — over 
*500; also a loss of $1,180 on account of the negligence of your 

**What was the negligence!" 

'*! gave your agent at Madison a written notice for three cars 
to load potatoes in with the iinderstanding that I would begin 
loading potatoes on Monday morning. On that day I put my 
hands and teams to work digging and drove to the station with 
seven loads of potatoes. I found no cars and no ware room, and 
the agent refused to let me unload them on the platform. There 
was no shed where I could store my potatoes and I unloaded them 
on the switch; and as I had the hands employed I was compelled 

2S0 From Slavery to Wealth 

to continue digging. There lay three cars of potatoes in sacks 
and they were severely damaged by the hogs and sun/' 

**My potatoes were delayed several days from the market. I 
had telegrams in my pocket from Pittsburgh and Chicago, offer- 
ing me a certain price for potatoes, but when the potatoes arrived 
there was a loss in weight and they were badly damaged by the 
sun. The price received made a difference of over $1,100. 1 
came to the conclusion that that was too much money for any old 
one-gallused farmer to lose after toiling through the hot sun and 
bad weather." 

**Have you not sued the Company for this amount!'' 

^'Yes sir, I have.*' 

'''It seems as if you have no confidence in your law suit.' 

'*I have but little confidence in the law suit.?' 

*'Why did you sue us?*' 

'"Mr. Piersou, your attorney who sits here, some years ago when 
an old colored man got killed by your train at my town, and his 
wife made me administrator of his <»state and had me sue the Com- 
pany for $10,000. I employed two of the best lawyers in my 
county, and they and others with myself, thought we had & good 
case. When the case was called and we had j^otten about half of 
our witnesses introduced, Mr. Picrson, who was sittin<r in the Court 
room with his book open in his lap; when we readied a certain 
l)()int in the case, stepped to Ihe Judge and handed him that part 
of the law. When the Judge read the law, he said to our lawyers. 
*'(jl(^ntlemen, you have no case here." My two lawyers looked at 
each other and sat down. Since that time I have had no confidence 
in any case where Mr. Pierson was opposing counsel.'' 

j\[r. Pierson, Mr. Cahill and myself all joined in a hearty laugh. 

Then Mr. Cahill said, '* Uncle Scott, this is no place to settle 
a claim. There is the claim department over yonder and there is 
a gentleman there who will satisfy you about the claim." 

*'No sir; I can't go to see him any more. I was there to sec him 
once and he asked me why I tied the mules on the railroad to have 
them killed, lie then offered me less than half what my mules 
and cattle were worth. I told him that it was not fair; that I 

Life of Scott Bond 281 

could not take that amount. 1 was a hard working old one-gallused 
farmer, and it was hard to be treated that way." 

**He told me that was all he would pay me. I got my hat and 
left him and said some day the Lord will fix it so I will get my 
rights. So then Mr. Cahill, I believe you can handle the Claim 
Agent better than I can and you must either proceed or stop load 
ing gravel." •» 

Mr. Cahill then told me he would turn me over to Mr. Pierson, 
who would make a settlement with me some way or another. 

Mr. Pierson said, *'Come, Uncle Scott, and go with me to my 

When we arrived at his office he said to me, '*The Company will 
look for me to get sometjiing off of this account." 

**Mr. Pierson, you can't look to me to reduce the account very 
much as I have to pay my lawyers' fees and the cost of the court 
as far as the case has gone. But to show you how broad I try to 
be in my dealings, I say write me a check for $1500 and I will with- 
draw the notice; and that will be allowing you $160.00." 

He handed me a check for $1,500 and I signed a withdrawal of 
notice, got my hat and coat and was going down in the elevator. 
I said, ''The Lord did fix it." 

This gave them a second start in loading gravel. The reports 
and vouchers balanced for the next three or four months. Then 
m the clerical changes in the railroad offices there began to appear 
discrepancies of $50.00 to $100.00 monthly. This contiued for six 
or eight months. I again gave the Company thirty days notice 
to stop loading. 

When the Company received the notice they sent me a check 
for what they owed me to balance the daily reports and also 
wrote me a very nice letter to show the cause of the mistake, and 
asked me to withdraw the notice in order that they might continue. 
I failed to answer the letter and in a few days the Boad Master 
called to see me. After the usual greetings and complimenting 
the store and business, said: 

**What is the trouble this time. Uncle Scott?" 

**No trouble at all. The Company has paid all the balance due 
and there is no trouble whatever." 

282 From Slavery to Wealth 

'*The trouble then is with us. You failed to withdraw your 

*'Yes sir. I came to the conclusion that you were not xmying 
rae enough. You must add fifteen cents, thus making sixty-five 
cents a car." 

'*You will have to see the Superintendent about that. That is 
out of my power." 

**I am not worried about the matter. The Superintendent will 
have to see me," 1 said. 

We shook hands and bade each other good-bye. 
The next morning the agent at Madison told me that the Super- 
intendent had wired him to give me a ticket, and for me to come 
to Little Rock, and he would pay the expense and pay me for the 
time I lost in coming up there. 

I told him to write the Superintendent and tell him it is just 
three days till Christmas and I had to settle with hands. And that 
I really could not go to Little Rock. But I had promised my wife 
and boy that I would spend the holidays in Little Rock, and I had 
arranged to leave here on Christmas eve. 

I received a letter from the Superintendent telling me ho 
would furnish transportation to my wife and me and would pay 
my expenses there and back. 

On Christmas eve I got a notice from the agent that a special 
car was on the track near my store, to take me to Little Rock. 

This train took us to Forrest City and then we took the fast train 
for Little Rock. "When tlie train left Forrest City the conductor 
came around and asked for tickets. 

I told him I had no tickets. 

He then asked me for the money. 

I informed him that I had been informed by the Company Super- 
intendent that my fare was paid from my place to Little Rock. 

He wanted to know how he w^as to know that. 

I said to him, **The only way for you to know now is by me tell- 
ing you. ' ' 

**You must either pay or get off." 

After the conductor left, my wife said to me, *'Thcy are goini; 
to put us off. You have the money — pay him." 

Life of Scott Bond 283 

** Wife, you need not worry. There is no danger of them putting 
us off" 

By this time we had passed two or three stations. . 

The conductor came again to collect fare. I told him I would 
pay the fare of my wife and boy, and he could put me off. 

My wife said : **I have the money — ^I will pay your fare." 

I told the conductor that if he would walk back to the rear end 
of the train he would find the Boad Master; and he had our fare. 

The conductor and Boad Master came back into our car laugh- 
ing. The Boad Master remarked^ '*Well, Uncle Scott, you are 
having more trouble.'' 

**No; no trouble, just a little misunderstanding." 

When the train arrived in Little Bock I was invited into the 
Superintendent's office. 

**Well, Uncle Scott, I see we are in trouble again." 

"No sir, there is no **we" in this. The party who broke the 
contract is the one that is in trouble." 

(There was a hearty laugh.) "What do you want to do about 
it, Uncle Scott?" 

''I just want you to add fifteen cents more to the car and make 
it sixty-five cents a car." 

"You made a contract with me for 50 cents a car." 

"Yes sir, but I am now making a contract for 65 cents a car." 

"That is more money than we can pay." 
All right; if you can't use it, there is no harm done." 
You agreed to let us have a few thousand cars at 50 cents." 
Thought that three thousand cars was a few, and you have 
loaded out something over three thousand cars." 

"All right, we will draw up another contract at 65 cents per car; 
and I want to say right here that 65 cents is all we shall ever pay. 

"We will take the track out of the pit before we will pay any 

I accepted the contract at 65 cents. 

By this time T had collected enough money from the gravel pit 
to pay for the farm three times over. Thus it will be seen that 
the gravel pit, farm and all had really only cost me $5.00. 

This contract continued in force for about twenty-four months, 

284 From Slavery to Wealth 

after which time 1 took the contract for loading the cars myself 
at 25 cents per yard additional. 

The railroad company would build traps or bridges in the gravel 
pit over which we would drive mules hitched to slips or road 
scrapers and dump the load into the cars below. 



I had at that time a man named D. A. Budd who was superin 
tending the loading, and who came to me and said, ''I believe 
we can try an arrangement of cables and blocks that will be more 
efficient than the method we now follow in loading this gravel.' 

He made a roiigh sketch of what he proposed. It looked to me 
as if the plan would work, so I instructed him to find where the 
material for such a i)lant could be bought and the price of the same. 

By this method we gut in touch with firms in different parts of 
the country and learned of the development made in this style of 
excavating. Among the firms who replied was the Cable Excavator 
Company o£ Philadelphia, whose drawings were nearest to our ideas 
of what wouUl give the desired results in our gravel beds. T had 
an outline sketch of our pit made and forwarded to this Company 
by our supervising engineer, Mr. Dan A. Budd, and asked them what 
it would cost to put in a plant such as we were designing to place. 

They replied tliat if we had the gravel and the quantity was 
great enough to warrant the outlay, and had a market, they could 
put in a plant that they would guarantee to load 800 yards per 

I asked that they send one of their engineers to go over the situa- 
tion, and if he would say that the gravel bed did not warrant the 
outlay, I would pay all his expenses and $10.00 per day for his 

They accepted the proposal and wired the date when their repre- 
sentative would arrive in Madison. 

In the mean time I took the catalogues showing the pictures of 
the plant I proposed to put in and went to the superintendent of 
the Rock Island Railway and said, '*Mr. Copely, I have come to 
save the Company money in the way of loading out gravel. You 

Life of Scott Bond 285 

have lost thousands of dollars in the way of tracks and traps^ 
because every big rain takes out your ti'acks laid in the bottom 
of the creek and carries away your traps. 

**If you will give me a contract for $20,000 worth of gravel and 
take your track up out of the channel of the creek and put it up- 
on the bank, you will have no more traps to build and lose no more 
track. Go back over your record and see how much money your 
company has lost by these big flood rains. If you will split this 
amount half in two and add it to ray future loading, I will be in 
position to load gravel for you rain or shine, hot or cold, and as 
many cars as you may want. Here is a catalogue showing the i>ic- 
ture of the plant that I propose to put in. It will cost in machinery, 
erecting, etc., $15,000. 

**This company agrees to put tlie macliiiiery in and giinraiuees 
that it will load a oar every ten minutes, with tlie under.standhig 
that I pay them $2,000 as soon as the plant is all up and tested.'' 

Upon his arrival we went over the gravel pit. lie said that 
he thought that we had as lino gravel as ho had ever seen, and the 
quantity was apparently inexhaustible; and i)roposed to put in a 
plant that would load a car in ten minutes, at a cost of $12,000 for 
the machinery. 

I told him his proposition was all right, but his price was too 
large. That I hajA been figuring with other companies, and was 
sure I could get a plant for less money. 

He claimed it was their purpose to put the best material into the 

I told him that was just what I was expecting, and that was just 
what the other fellow had promised to do. 

We discussed the matter for four or five hours, and I finally 
agreed to pay him $8,500 f. o. b. Philadelphia. There were five 
car loads and the freight on same was over $900. I had my attorney 
to draw a contract. It was signed and witnessed. 1 now felt that 
T was all right. 

In a few days I got a letter from the Cable Excavator Company 
saying that their engineer had made a mistake; that the price he 
had given me was too low-— they could not give us the plant agreed 

286 From Slavery to Wealth 

upon with a two and one half yard bucket, and for that reaflon, 
they would have to cancel the contract. 

I answered this letter by saying: **I have your letter of recent 
date and contents noticed in which you say you will have to cancel 
your contract with nie. I have always been of this opinion, that it 
takes more than one to make a contract and that it takes more than 
one to cancel a contract. From the reference I have of your firm, 
I know you are responsible, and the terms of this contract will be 
carried out to the letter.'* 

A few days later 1 was up the St. Francis River rafting logs. 
My oldest son had brought a gentleman up to me in my gasoline 
launch and introduced liim a.s llie head of the Cable Excavator Co., 
of Philadelphia. 

I told him I was glad to sec him as the president of his Company, 
as his visit would no doubt save us a law suit. 

He replied, **Mr. Bond, the man seut here had no right whatever 
to make the ])rice he did on this plant. I am sure we can't come 
out on a plant of that size at that i^rice. We will absolutely lose 
money. I3ut I will say that we can put in a plant with a yard and 
a half bucket for that money, and that is all I will do." 

I said, *'A11 right Mr. lladsel, you Icnow best. But I have your 
telegram stating that your agent would be here on a certain day 
to see me and showed me documentarv evidence that assured me 
that he had the power to make a deal with me. I will say there 
is no doubt about me putting in a plant from another concern; and 
as 1 have your contract signed by your agent and witnessed, I will 
proceed at on(>e to have a plant put up and will see that the Cable 
Excavator Company pays for it." 

Mr. lladsel said, **Mr. Bond, that wont do. As there is no ma- 
chinery of this kind in the south, and as it will ])e a big advertise- 
ment for our company, as you have agreed to pay us $1,000 cash as 
soon as the plant was finished and tested — If you will pay us ^2,000 
instead of $1,000, and as I see you liave a contract with the Rail- 
road Company for $20,000 worth of gravel, I will go ahead and 
carry out this contract.'' 

'*That is all right. Your $2,000 will be ready. Mr. lladsel, we 
must have an extra specimen of writing covering this additional 




IKf ^S 






■^^ ' 1 


\ ""'•L-J 



^ 'i >• J . 

life of Scott Bond 289 

$1,000, as you know the least you add to a contract or the least you 
take from it renders the same null and void." 

He smiled and said, **A11 right." 

I turned to my boy and asked for paper. I instructed him to 
write that I would pay Mr. Hadsel $1,000 additional the first pay- 
ment. The paper was signed and witnessed. Mr. Hadsel left me 
<jaying that he would forward me the blue prints at once, that I 
might get out the timbers by the time the machinery got here, 
which would be in sixty days. 

When we received the blue prints we found that many of the 
timbers would have to be forty and fifty feet long, and that it would 
require twenty thousand feet to erect the plant. 

We wrote to all the mills in the state that we could think of, 
and were turned down cold, as none of them sawed timber of that 
length. I was then puzzled as to what to do. I was running a 
saw mill of my own at that time, and after consulting my forces 
I found that, although our mill was only erected to cut at most 
sixteen and eighteen feet, we could, by a little manipulating and 
shifting ahead on the carriage, cut the desired length. 

Mr. Budd, our supervising engineer, then went up the 
river and cut cypress trees the desired length and rolled 
them into the water. By the time we got the logs all 
into the river, the water was so low that we would have to 
break up the rafts and roll the logs over the sand bars for some 
times a quarter of a mile. This led me to believe that I had quite 
a job on my hands. But I had always succeeded in my under- 
takings. The difiiculty only fired my ambition. 

When we at last got the logs to the mill we made the necessary 
changes and finally got a fairly good lot of long timbers — 36 to 50 

By this time all the machinery had arrived and we at once started 
the erection of the plant, which required about six weeks. 

The blue prints required two pieces 12x14 inches by 75 feet, and 
two pieces 12x14 inches by 80 feet long. Having learned of the 
creosote plant about eighty miles away, I went to that plant and 
explained my wants. The manager informed me that owing to 

290 From Slavery to Wealth 

their contract with the Railroad Company, he could not make a 
deal on the outside for timber. 

I informed the manager that my work was lor the R. I. Railway, 
and I would call up the superintendent and have the timbers 
come to me through the R. I. Ry. 

I called up the superintendent on the long distance and explain- 
ed the matter to him. 

He phoned the manager that it would be all right to let the timbers 
come on through the R. I. Railway Company, with the understand- 
ing that Uncle Scott Bond would settle for them immediately upon 
delivery at the gravel pit. 

I then wired the Overhead Cable Company to send their construct- 
ing engineer, as we were ready to begin the erection of the plant. 

This engineer cost me $7.00 per day. 

"When he arrived, I gave him a force of carpenters and helpers, 
and at once started to build a seventy-foot tower for the machinery'. 

In six weeks from the start the plant was completed and ready 
for the test. 

The plant stood the test of eighty cubic yards an hour which 
meant a capacity of 800 cubic yards a day. "With tliis great plant, 
with seventy -five horse power, I found I was able to load a ear 
cverv seven minutes. 

Neighbors far afid near were anxious to see the overhead cable 
way, and crowds of people came each day to the gravel pit to 
see the show. 

We were now in position to load all the cars the railroad people 
would furnish us. 

With our inexhaustible deposits of gravel and our splendid 
excavating plant, we were often urged to add a plant for the manu* 
facture of concrete bricks, blocks, tiles and other objects. Thou- 
sands of dollars in contracts w-erc offered until at last we have de- 
cided to put in a plant to cost about $75,000 for this purpose. 

We have a verj'' great advantage in doing this because the rail- 
road has placed more than a mile of track and a $2,300 bridge in 
our gravel beds. 

Crow Creek gra^ el is positively unsurpassed for concrete pur- 
]*oses. Our beds are the first west of Memphis and are located 
right at the base of Crowley's ridge. 

Life of Scott Bond 291 

There are three periods known geologically as the Mississippi 
erabayment periods, when the Gulf of Mexico swept as far north as 
Cairo, 111. At these periods when the salt water covered all this 
part of Arkansas, great beds of oysters flourished, and today their 
history is written in the immense deposits of oyster shells to be 
found along Crow Creek. This calcereous deposit would furnish 
an unequaled base for fertilizer, and tests are being made to de- 
termine the value thereof. 

It might be well to state here that there are many valuable min- 
eral deposits in this part of Arkansas, among them are iron, lig- 
nite and salt — ^whether in paying quantities or not, remains to be 

On the same farm through which the gravel beds run is one of 
the finest orchards in this part of the state. There are five varieties: 
wine sap, Arkansas black, Ben Davis and Early Harvest apples, 
and Elberta peaches. This is especially a commercial orchard for 
shipping. The trees are still young. We have marketed three 
crops of Elberta peaches, shipping to Memphis and selling in near- 
by towns. The apples have been in bearing for two years and the 
1917 crop promises to be fine. 

Mr. Bond says that this part of Arkansas is excellent for fruit, 
and that in addition to supplying the home table with a delicacy 
and a necessity, can be made a source of revenue to the farmer, 
large or small. 

The orchard is so close to the railroad track in the gravel pit 
that the cars are loaded right at the orchard. 

Just opposite the orchard Mr. Bond has a fine field of alfafa that 
is one of the most promising pieces of this legume in this part of 

The three farms joining the home place are being seeded entire- 
ly to pasture and feed crops, and are being made convenient for the 
breeding and growing of stock. 

An industry that Mr. Bond contemplates installing in his orchard 
is an apiar>^ He is of the opinion that not only will the honey 
pay, but the bees will be of much benefit in fertilizing the blooms on 
the fruit trees. He also is arranging to utilize the extra spots on 
bis fruit farm for the growing of truck and melons for the market. 

292 From Slavery to Wealth 


In the overflow of 1889 I had gone through much exposun^ 
trying to save my property, my neighbors and their bdangingB. 
One who has never seen the mighty Mississippi on a rampage^ 
can form no conception of the devastation and ruin wrought by 
the muddy, angry flood as it sweeps on in its irresistable roah 
to the sea, bearing on its murky bosom the wrecks of home and 
forest. From this exposure I had contracted a severe, deep 
seated attack of malaria. I had been treated by the best doctors 
in my county but none of them seemed able to master my ail- 
ment. I had taken so much medicine that it looked as if lione 
would now take the slightest effect. I dragged along in thia 
condition for twelve months. At times they would put a spring: 
mattress in a wagon and haul me to town that I might make 
settlements with people on my different farms. I would some- 
times lose the use of myself. I would be walking along and 
would fall to the ground and could no more rise up than a baby. 
Some one would pick me up. I would feel fine and would toddle 
along until I made another mistep and down I would go again. 
I only weighed 96 pounds and had almost given up hope of re- 

One day I was sitting on a log and attempted to diagnose my 
own case. I first asked myself : "What in the world can be the 
matter with me." I looked back to the time when my complaint 
first started, and thought of the manner in which I had taken 
ill and the hundreds of bottles of medicine I had used. I then 
sent for Dr. Van Paten, one of the best physicians in the state 
of Arkansas, who had been treating me. 

When he came I told him that it seemed that my case was be- 
yond the reach of medicine. I said, "you and all the other doctors 
in the county have failed to effect a cure of my complaint. I 
would like for you to try to think of some way by which I might 
get well." 

Dr. Van Paten looked into the fire for a few moments as if 
in deep study. He finally raised his head and said : "Well, Uncle 
Scott, if you can stand the trip I would have you get ready and 
go to Ravenden Springs in Randolph County, Ark. 

Life of Scott Bond 295 

At that time I could hardly put one foot before the other. I 
went home and told my wife to pack my trunk as I was going to 
Ravenden Springs. I made arrangements that night with my 
brother-in-law, Pat Banks to go with me to the Springs. The 
next day we started out and while at Forrest City waiting for 
the train, Capt. Wjnine, who was at that time one of the leading 
merchants of Forrest City and withal a Christian gentleman, 
walked up to us and said to me, "Good morning Uncle Scott. 
How do you feel?" 

"I feel quite well but I am very weak." 

He called Pat Banks aside and said to him, 'Tat that man is 
your brother-in-law, he can't get well. If you take him away 
you will have to send a box for him. Were I in your place I 
would persuade him not to go." 

Pat said: "He has full confidence in his physician. He 
advised him to go and I can't advise him not to go." 

When the train arrived, we boarded it for Ravenden Springs. 
We got off at a little station called Ravenden Junction, distant 
seven miles from the Springs. Conveyance hence was by stage 
coach. The driver came to me and asked me if I was going to 
the Springs. 

I told him yes but I could not walk. 

He said : "All right I will take you in the stage coach." 

Suiting his actions to his words he and my brother-in-law 
lifted me into the coach. It was seven and one-half miles of the 
roughest riding I had ever seen. Just before I got to the 
Springs the driver asked me where I wanted to stop. 

I told him I wanted to stop wherever I could get the best at- 

He said : "The Southern Hotel is the best place but that would 
cost me $60 per month." 

I told him money was no object. I wanted to try to regain 
my health. I was sure at that time the driver knew that I was 
a Negro. He never asked me and as I had always been a Negro 
and I was satisfied that he knew that I was. My brother-in-law, 
who was with me, was a bright mulatto and one who did not 
know the difference would readily take him for a white man. 

296 From Slavery to Wealth 

By this time the coach had reached the little town and had 
driven up to the Southern Hotel. He pulled a cord and the land- 
lord came out. He informed the landlord that he had a sick man 
who was unable to walk. 

The landlord summoned two fine looking white men, porters 
and told them to take me up to room 82. 

When we got to the room there was a lady dusting the room, 
and a white man making a fire. The room was soon in reAdine5?s 
and I was put to bed. I was by this time quite exhausted. I 
slept from six o'clock until 9 o'clock that evening. When I 
awoke my brother Pat asked me how I felt. I told him very 
good after my nice nap, for it was the best sleep I had had for a 
long time. I was asked by the porter w^hat I wanted for sup- 
per. I told him I only w^anted a drink of water. He insisted 
that I should eat a little something. 

I told him he might bring me a few spoonfuls of oatmeal with 
cream and sugar. After eating the porter removed the dishes, 
and left us to ourselves. 

Pat said: *'Look here bud, these people are mistaken. They 
take us for white folks." 

I said: '*Well Pat you are right. They have made the mis- 
take. We did not intend it. We will put the best foot foremost 
aiiil will do the best we know how. We will not put ourselves 
on them, and will not entertain any more than we have to. I 
trust the Lord it will all work out for the best." 

When we first arrived at the Springs my stomach was so badly 
deranged that the water would not stay with me long enough 
to j'each blood heat. I do not believe any man could get nearer 
the end than I was and not die. Pat and I talked the matter 
over that night. I awoke the next morning somewhat refreshed. 

Pat rose and dressed. His hair was very black. After comb- 
ing it he turned and asked me how I liked his appearance. 

I told him he looked all right, but I must have him to change 
his hair. Instead of reaching it to just brush it down his fore- 
head. The darkness of your hair will by contrast make your 
face look fairer. He did so and asked how that caught me. 


, I 

Life of Scott Bond 297 

"That looks all right Pat. I think you will make it through." 
His hair was perfectly straight and he was neatly dressed. 

I told him when he went to breakfast they would ask him 
where he was from, and I said to him that he must say he was 
from the St. Francis basin ; as they knew that part of the country 
was full of malaria and that would account for his dark com- 

The last bell was ringing for breakfast in the dining room 
and the porter came to my room for my order for breakfast. 

I ordered two soft boiled eggs, a cup of coffee and some bread 
or crackers. 

I relished my breakfast very much. I then had a good drink 
of that wonderful water. When Pat returned to my room after 
eating , I asked him how he enjoyed his breakfast. 

He said: "Fine. Everything is up-to-date." 

"Did you have a full table. ?" 

"More than a dozen full tables." 

"They must have a large dining room." 

"They have. This is a wonderful building." 

Let us here explain to the reader, the reason why we were 
able to carry ourselves among these white people in the manner 
in which we did, was that Pat was the carriage driver for his 
white people before the war, and I was the house boy for my 
mistress; hence from being in constant contact with our own- 
ers and their guests we were the better prepared for this 

I said, "Now Pat, there is one thing left undone. You cannot 
read and write, so you go to the clerk and call for the register 
and in registering my name I will register yours." 

That scheme worked. The clerk took up the register and 
said, "C!ome on and lets go." 

He came into my room very politely and brought the book to 
the bed. I took the pencil, registered and said to Pat, "As you 
have no glasses I will register for you." 

When the clerk was gone, Pat turned to roe and said : "That 
worked like a charm." 

298 From Slavery to Wealth 

"That is all right. My only object is to try to get well and I 
hope the Lord will be with us." 

I then told Pat to go out and find the best doctor in town and 
have him come to my room. 

When Pat returned with the doctor, I said: "Good morning 
Doctor. This is Bond from St. PYancis County, Arkansas." 

"Dr. Williams, Mr. Bond." 

"Doctor, I sent for you for advise as to how I should treat my- 
self in drinking this water." 

"How long have you been here?" 

"Just came last night." 

He told me the water was all right to drink all I could hold. 
He said that after I had been there a few days, I would have a 
ravenous appetite, and that I should be careful not to overeat 
myself, especially at the start. He advised me to take a weak 
toddy in the morning before breakfast. 

I told him that I had not drunk whisky in years and years. 
That I was tee-totaler. 

"Mr. Bond I do not mean that you should use it as a beverage 
but for sickness." 

By this time I was sitting on the side of the bed. 

He said: "I see your feet are swelling." 

"Yes, sir." 

"Now, if you had some real good whiskey to bathe your feet 
in, it would help a great deal." 

"All right doctor, we will get the whiskey, I suppose you have 
plenty of it in your town here ?" 

"No, there is no whiskey in our town. The only place where 
you can get good whiskey, is to send to Memphis for it." 

"Pat look in my pocket book and give the doctor $10.00. He 
being a physician knows where to send to get the article he 

"Mr. Bond shall I have it expressed to you?" 

This suited Pat. I think at this time he had a half pint flask 
in his valise. He had learned of his master in the dark days of 
slavery to drink, and continued in a moderate way. One could 
never tell he had taken a drop. 

Life of Scott Bond 299 

The whiskey arrived in a few days, and for Pat's benefit I 
sent out in town and bought 2 pounds of loaf sugar that he might 
have his toddy every morning. 

The next day Dr. Williams called. 

"Hello Bond, how are you feeling?" 

"I am O. K. doctor. • I feel that I am improving." 

"You look better. Has your package come?" 

"Yes sir. It was brought in this morning." 

"Here is your change. It cost $6.00 per gallon." 

"Well doctor," Pat says, "it is all right. There is sugar and a 
glass on the dresser and if you indulge you can sample it and 
see what kind of goods it is." 

"I am a fine judge said the doctor, I wiU see what quality of 
goods you have." 

He made his toddy, drank it and said : "That is fine." 

"He told me to take a half pint and put it in the foot tub and 
have Mr. Banks bathe my feet good every morning and to bottle 
it up again and use it several times. 

I noticed after the doctor had drunk his toddy he seemed to 
brighten in his conversation. I caught the hint. I said : "Pat 
will go home in a few days. It will be several days or a week 
before I can get out. Whenever you feel like you want a toddy 
you know where my room is, it will be here for you." 

"All right Mr. Bond, I will come in once in a while to see how 
you get along." 

I was improving rapidly so I told my brother Pat he had better 
go home and look after his family and mine. Tell wife I am 
doing fine and have improved each day since I came to the 
Springs. Fill your little flask before you start. 

He said he had enough to last him until he got home. 

I told him to take the money from my purse to settle his hotel 

I must say that I had never seen anything in all my days that 
improved one as the water at Ravenden improved me. My ap- 
petite was ravenous. 

The proprietor came to my room one morning and said : "Mr, 
Bond, it is no trouble for me to send your meals to your room, 

300 From Slavery to Wealth 

but I think that if you would walk to the dining room for them 
you would gain much more rapidly." 

"Now Mr. Blackshire, I would be more than glad to do this, 
but it is impossible for me to sit on anything hard. I am as raw 
as a piece of beef." 

"You don't say so. I notice that when I come to your room 
you are either sitting on a pillow or on the side of the bed." 

"I will have my wife fasten a pillow in a chair so that you can 
sit at the table." 

"All right, Mr. Blackshire I will certainly appreciate that." 

I was dressed for dinner and when the bell rang I walked into 
the dining room. Mrs. Blackshire was standing at the table with 
a chair and pillow and invited me to have a seat. All this was 
strange to me as I did not see any colored servants either in the 
dining room or around the building. I had always been used to 
colored servants and this seemed very strange to me. However 
I braced up, ate my dinner and spoke but little with any one. 

In a few days I was able to go out and walk around town. The 
customs and habits of the people there were very different from 
what I had been used to. It was not a farming country because 
of the mountains and rocks. One could only see gardens and 
truck patches. The people all seemed nice and pleasant. All 
lived at home and lived principally on their butter, eggs, mutton 
and cattle. It was the greatest place for eggs I had ever seen. 
Plymouth Rock was the chicken mostly found there and they 
were full blooded. There were five little stores in the tovra and 
the market was chiefly of poultry and dairy products. The 
merchants there, paid 5 cents per dozen for eggs, in trade and 
41/2 in cash. Frequently I would notice that some of the people 
would have to carry them back home. In this I saw a chance 
to make some money. I went to all five of the stores and told 
them to buy all the eggs they could, and I would take them off 
their hands at 5 and 5V2C per dozen. This raised the egg 
market and eggs continued to come in. I ordered twelve empty 
cases. As soon as these arrived, I had them packed and shipped 
out. I then ordered fifteen cases, but only got nine. I was at 
a loss for want of cases to ship eggs in. 

Life of Scott Bond 301 

I went to Dr. Lambert, the leading merchant and asked him 
to help me get cases to ship eggs in. 

"Mr. Bond, egg cases are very scarce and I would advise you 
to use barrels. There are many empty barrels in town and I 
will show the man how to pack them in barrels." 

I told him we would try the barrels. He had a load of wheat 
straw cut to half inch lengths. A laj^er of this to the depth of 
three inches was first put in the barrel, then a layer of eggs 
with the big end down, then a layer of straw and a layer of eggs 
until the barrel was full. 

I shipped the second week nine barrels and twenty-four cases 
of eggs. I made enough profit on eggs while there to more than 
pay my hotel bill which was $60 a month* 

The customs of the people of Ravenden Springs were very dif- 
ferent from the customs of the people among whom I had been 
reared. They were apparently very good natured and were 
friendly among themselves. They were fairly good workers. 
It was very strange to hear the old gentleman who discovered 
the springs, tell the story of his discovery. He said he had been 
sick for many years with indigestion. He finally got to the 
point where he could only eat wheat bran and water. His wife 
had been dead many years. He had a son and daughter living. 
The daughter kept house and cared for him. He said that he 
owned the whole town of Ravenden Springs, which was built on 
a part of 160 acres that he had donated from the state many years 
before. Only a few acres here and there were suitable for cul- 
tivation because of mountainous topography. His health was so 
bad that he could not walk. The best he could do was to crawl 
about in the middle of the day. He said he had a dream one 
night He dreamed that there was a spring which if he would 
use the water thereof, it would cure his complaint. He tried 
the next day to get his daughter to get him down to where the 
spring flowed from under the mountain. There was only one 
way to get there at that time and that was very difficult. 

His children laughed at him and told him that was only a 
dream and there was nothing to dreams. He thought of a way 
to get there. He walked as far as he could then slid down on 

302 From Slavery to Wealth 

his stomach until he reached a bush he had seen in his dream. 
He tied a rope to it and let himself down to the bottom. He 
then crawled about 100 yards to the spring and lying on his 
stomach, drank all the water he could hold. Then looked about 
for a place to lay down. He went to sleep and when he awoke 
it was 11 o'clock at night. He then said, thank God I am better. 
He said when his daughter came home that evening between sun 
down and dark, she looked everywhere for him, but could not 
find him an3nvhere. She called but no answer. The next morn- 
ing he heard a searching party coming down the path cut on the 
face of the hill. He hallooed and the girl said, that is pa. He 
43aid, yes this is pa. She walked to the edge of the cliff and said, 
pa, what in the world are you doing down there. He told her 
he was resting and sleeping and that he had had more sleep last 
night than he had in the last five weeks. 

She asked how in the world he got down there. 

He told her the only way to get to him was to go back 250 
yards and she would see how he slid down to a bush and the rope 
was still tied to it where he let himself down. 

This is the dream of which I have been telling you. 

The searching party was composed of three ladies, his son and 
another man. The party went back as directed. They found 
the place and after some time the men risked the descent to him. 

He said good morning to them and said he believed he had 
found the spring of Holy water. His daughter asked him if he 
thought the water was doing him any good. He told her yes 
he was feeling better already. 

How to get him home was the next thing. We would have to 
go two and a half miles to get around the foot of the mountain. 

The old man said : "Thank God I am at home. I want my bed. 
This is my home. I am going to stay here until I get well." 

A tent, bedding and other things were secured and a camp 
made for him. He remained there for two weeks. His meals 
were let down to him on a rope. In six weeks from the time he 
began drinking the water he could eat almost anything. From 
this the rumor spread abroad about the healing waters. People 
from every direction came and were benefited. Finally a party 

life of Scott Bond 305 

from St. Louis came to buy the 160 acres. They offered him 
$300 for the land. He said : "No money won't buy the place." 

In three weeks more they offered him $1,500. He finally sold 
the place to them for $2,000, reserving a homestead of 5 acres 
during his life. I am sure his view of the healing properties of 
the water was correct, for I gained 28 pounds in 6 weeks. 

The springs derived the name from the number of ravens that 
nest there every year. 

I remember while at Ravenden Springs of discussing different 
topics with others, among the subjects discussed was inevitably 
the Negro. One remarked that the Negro was no good at all. 
Another remarked that it was natural for the Negro to steal. 
Still another said he had no use for a Negro in any circum- 

In as much as I was in the conversation I felt it was my time 
to say something. I could not afford to give myself away, so I 
told them I thought the Negro was all right in his place, and that 
I had several large farms and I considered the Negro the best 
labor on earth to handle cotton. 

Dr. Lambert said: "I think Mr. Bond, you are about right. 
The Negro is just the thing to handle cotton." 

Another gentleman asked how in the world I got along with 

I told him that one must learn to handle them. To always be 
positive and frank and one could always make good laborers of 

I met a young man at the springs, whose father. Dr. Spark- 
man lived at Haynes, Ark. He was very nice and courteous to 
me. Whenever I would meet him on the street he would always 
bow and say good morning, and on the day I left for home I met 
this young man, Mr. Sparkman, at the depot. He came up to me 
and said : "Hello Uncle Scott." This was the first time I had heard 
the name Scott, while at the springs. We were seven miles from 
the hotel at the springs. 

We boarded the train and occupied the same seat all the way 
home as there was no Jim Crow law at that time. It was then 

30G From Slavery to Wealth 

I learned that every Negro in the south had a white friend and 
that every white man had a Negro friend. 

When I arrived home and met my friends they were pleasant- 
ly surprised at my improvement in both health and looks. I 
met Capt. Wynne on the street in Forrest City. He stopped 
and smiled. He looked and then said: ''Uncle Scott you look 
really fine. You have fooled us all. I never expected to see you 
come back here alive." He called other men and told them to 
look at me. "I never would have thought that he could possibly 
be made to look as fine as he does. At the time Scott left, I 
went to his brother-in-law and asked him to try to persuade him 
not to go, that if he did he would have to be brought back in a 
box. He went to the springs as a dead man, and went at onod 
to buymg eggs. He shipped nine barrels and several cases of 
eggs to Forrest City. This glutted the market. He shipped a 
large number to Memphis. Look he has two dozen of the pret- 
tiest Plymouth Rock hens I ever looked at." 

My wife and children were delighted at my improvement. I 
met Dr. Van Patten and told him I was certainly surprised at 

He asKed me how. I told him he had sent me to Ravenden 
Springs and he knew there was not a Negro on the place. 

He said that he had never given that a thought that there were 
no colored people there ; but "I see the water has saved your life. 
You look sound as a dollar." 

I told him that I thanked God that my health was good again 
and that I did not go to the springs to deceive any one. My only 
thought was to get well. 

He asked me how I got along and how was I treated. 

I told him I was treated royally. 

He asked me where I stopped. I told him the Southern Hotel, 
the best place there was there. 

He said : "I am sure you were treated right for that is the best 
hotel in that part of the country." 

He asked me if I was ever challenged there as to my rac« 

I told him no, not in the least. 

life of Scott Bond 307 


On one occasion I was at church and heard a fine sermon. At 
the close I noticed a Mr. Bamett, a citizen of this county. He 
said : "My business here is to see the colored people of this com- 
munity. The grave yard in which your forbears and mine have 
been buried for many years belongs to the railroad. The entire 
tract of 80 acres in which the cemetery is located, will eventually 
be used to make dumps and fills for the R. R. and as we have no 
deed to the land they can dig up the bodies and put them in the 
fill for cars to run over. The officials of the R. 'Rl. say that if 
we will have the land surveyed and pay the cost of it, the com- 
pany will deed us seven or eight acres." 

I replied : *'Mr. Bamett you are right, we should do something. 
You are the right man in the right place. We will now take a 
collection." The collection amounted to $9.00. Sixteen dollars 
was collected by the colored people of this community and not 
a dollar by the whites. 

About three months later Mr. Bamett came to my brick kiln 
where I was burning brick. He was accompanied by the county 
surveyor. He said : "Uncle Scott, I have been all over town and 
could get no one to help me survey the grave yard." 

I told him he could see my position, that my crew needed my 
attention and that I was busy as I could be. It certainly looked 
as if he could get some one to carry the chain. 

He said he had done his best and there was nothing to do but 
for the surveyor to go back. 

I said : "That will not do. I will stop and take my son and we 
will go and do the work as that is a very important job." 

We both stopped and in a half a day had surveyed the cem- 

White and colored for 50 years had buried promiscuously in 
that grave yard. 

After the survey, the railroad made a deed. Mr. Bamett had 
three white men appointed as trustees for the cemetery and 
bought net wire and fenced in all that part of the lands that 
was of any service for burying and prohibited any colored peo- 
ple from burying in it. 

308 From Slavery to Wealth 

I then gave the matter serious thought It looked very hard^ 
as we colored people had furnished all the money and done all 
the work. 

I went to the trustees and asked them if they thought it fair, 
after we had furnished all the money and done all the work^ to 
cut us off from burying in the same grave yard in which for 
over a half century our relatives had been buried. 

I was told that they were handling the business to suit them- 
selves and no Negroes will be allowed to bury there. 

I asked what would be done about those already buried there. 
If we would be allowed to go in and beautify the graves of our 

They said, "No this is a white grave yard and we will allow no 

I told them all right. I believed the Lord would provide for 
us. He always had. 

"1 own three acres of land, a beautiful spot lying north of and 
adjacent to tlie old grave yard and I am going to make my people 
a present of this spot for a grave yard. That will only leave a 
hair's breadth between the white and the Negro grave yard. 

I said: "Gentlemen, you have brought us from Africa here 
against our will, our transportation was paid by you. We had 
handcuffs on our hands, and through the magnificent power of 
God, he has taken irons off our hands, and placed into those same 
hands the ballot the greatest boon to the American citizen. As 
we have to live here in this wicked world today working side by 
side and mingling our forces in the cotton fields and factories, 
in the stores, the woods, we buy goods from the same counter, it 
looks as if it would be no harm in being laid in the bosom of 
mother earth as we had worked together in life. 

A Few days later I walked into a grocery store and met two of 
these trustees. They said they had thought over what I had 
said, about the piece of land I was going to give the colored peo- 
ple, and they had decided that the better way to do would be 
for me to deed that piece of land to the white people and they 
would give the old grave yard to the colored people. That if I 
gave the colored people the piece of land I spoke of the white 

Life of Scott Bond 


people would have to always drive past the colored grave yard 
to get to the white people's grave yard. 

I told them I could not agree with them, because if it would be 
a disgrace to be buried with those now living it would be dis- 
gracing those that are already dead, and that it was not my 
object to disgrace anyone. I always thought that it was better 
to elevate than to degrade. 

I then immediately deeded tiiis piece of land to my people free 
of charge. Posts were hauled, a net wire fence put around the 
land, a house was built for tools for the cemetery and to this 
day our people are glad to accommodate their white neighbors 
with the necessary tools when they wish to dig graves for white 

This incident is a real picture of conditions as they exist. The 
class of white people, who take the stand these people took, are 
like myself in many ways. They are none too well educated and 
have felt the heavy hand of misfortune. They rarely take the 
same view of things that the cultured and wealthy white people . 



From the success that I had in buying my first gin plant/ I 
made up my mind that as the making of the cotton was done 
principally by the southern colored man and that in as much as 
there was success in one gin plant, I went into another county 
— to Edmondson, a town owned and controlled exclusively by 
'Colored people, about twenty-five miles from my home at 
Madison and started to build another gin. I made a few 
trips about the country around Edmondson over the 
many hundreds of acres of land owned by those people. They 
had at thime two little cotton gins, modeled on the old style, 
where cotton was handled in baskets to the gin and the seed 
taken in the same way to the railroad. These gins were practi- 
cally worn out and it required twice the number of hands to 
operate them as would have been required to run one up-to-date 
plant. After seeing how this communnity could be benefited by 
putting in a first class modem plant, I drew a plan for this gin 
plrnt and went to two or three of the leading citizens and ex- 
plained same to them. I said to them: "A plant of this kind 
put right here at your station would be the making of your little 

The farmers' deeds and titles to the land in the town and its 
immediate surroundings, had been made and put on record, by 
a noted lawyer named Edmondson, a scion of the old Edmondson 
family who prior to the civil war owned all the land in and about 
Edmondson. He had made these deeds so as to prevent any 
white man ever being able to get a deed to any of said land. 
This being a very important point in law, to protect the Negro 
and to prevent any white man from ever getting a deed to any 
of these lands. The Negroes of the town then formed the Ed- 




life of Scott Bond 313 

mondson Home and Improvement C6., with the object of bujring 
all the land in the vicinity and cut it up into small farms. It 
was inserted in all deeds given by this club that these lands could 
not be bought by white people. This club did an extensive busi- 
ness. They bought and sold thousands of acres of land. There 
were only two little stores and the post office in the little town. 
I saw this was a fine locality for an up-to-date gin plant The 
citizens called a mass meeting of all the neighbors. The time 
was set and I was asked to come down, explain all about the 
erection and operation of an up-to-date gin plant. 

I met them and said to them: ''Friends and fellow citizens, 
the object of this meeting is to find out whether or not you want 
a first class gin plant in Edmondson. I have the plan by which 
I can make the machinery take the cotton from your wagon, 
put it in the gin stand, roll the cotton on the platform and put the 
seed in the cars on the track, and every farmer will get to a half 
a pound, the amount of seed he had in his bale. This can be done 
with one-fourth of the labor you now use on these two little 
plants, and will gin twice the amount of cotton per day that you 
now gin. I will furthermore guarantee that your little town 
will grow more in one year than it has in the last ten years. In 
other words it will be the making of this town. 

It will require about $10,000 to equip a plant like this. It is 
left to you to say how you want this plan laid. I will give you 
the opportunity to come in as stock holders and raise the money 
and build this plant or I will furnish the money and put it up at 
my own rbk. All I ask is the patronage of the entire com- 
munity. I will gin a bale of cotton as well and as cheaply as can 
be done in the country, give as good turn out as can be secured 
anywhere, will pay as much for cotton seed as the market will 

One of the leading men of the community said : "I move that 
Mr. Bond be allowed to come into our town and put up and 
operate a plant along such lines as he has offered.^' 

The motion was carried unanimously. 

I ordered the machinery for a comjdete outfit consisting of 
four gin stands and double hydraulic press. Put in concrete 

314 From Slavery to Wealth 

foundations for all the machinery. This being the fourth plant 
I had built, experience told me to leave no chip unturned. All 
the machinery including belts, pulleys, pipes and tank were 
bought from the Continental Gin Co., Birmingham, Ala. 

I thought then and think now that they handle the best and 
most complete gin outfit made. 

The day the plant was completed there was a bale of cotton 
standing at the gin waiting. We got up steam in the morning 
trained up the belts and was in fine running order by 12 o'clock. 
When we started to ginning this bale, the machinery worked 
perfectly. At the blowing of the whistle all the neighborhood 
gathered to see the new gin work. The seed were rattling along 
to a car 150 feet away. This was a real treat to all the people 
of that vicinity. 

I owned and operated this plant successfully along mechanical 
and financial lines for two years. During these two years you 
could almost see the litUe town grow. The gin turned out from 
45 to 60 bales per day. It was a source of revenue to Edmond- 
son. We paid out monthly from three hundred to five hundred 
dollars in wages. Mr. Pat Ward of Edmondson, was secretary 
and manager at a salary of $75.00 per month. The engineer and 
ginner drew salaries in proportion. Seeing the gin business was 
a success the second year after I built this plant I was offered 
an opportunity to lease the Richmond Cotton Oil Co's Gin at 
Widener, Ark. I took advantage of the offer and leased this 
gin and supplied myself with wood and coal sufficient to handle 
the plant that fall. I had a strong competitor at this place, and 
soon saw that it would take some financial hustling to succeed. 

I had been accustomed to this and had learned how to change 
gloves in handling different classes of people. I made up my 
mind to go after the business and get results. 

When the season opened we were on hand ready for ginning, 
and I succeeded in handling my competitor like a pocket in a 
shirt. This Widener gin gave me control of four different gins 
for that year. The fourth being a gin I owned on one of my 
farms 12 miles up the St. Francis river. You can readily see 

Life of Scott Bond 315 

that this would be a big job for an educated man to handle. For 
an uneducated man this must have been a double load. 


I was at this time equipped with two grown boys who had 
finished college and were material of my own shaping, we were 
well able to meet the emergency. I made one of my sons, The- 
ophilus general manager of all the gin plants. The older one, 
Waverly T. Bond was secretary and treasurer. The only worry 
to us during this ginning season was car shortage. By the time 
we got our plants in full operation we found it a hard matter to 
get cars to ship our seed. The seed houses at Edmonson, Wide- 
ner, Madison and 12 miles up the river were all full to overflow- 
ing, all from the lack of cars in which to ship seed. This right 
in the middle of the ginning season. 

I phoned and sent night messages to the oflicials of the Rock 
Island Ry., asking and begging for cars to relieve our seed bins. 
Sometimes we would get one car a day and sometimes would get 
none. By this time the ginning proposition began to get serious. 
We were paying out four and five thousand dollars a day. Still 
the seed houses were packed full and the seed had begun to de- 
teriorate. Right at this juncture my Widener competitor who 
was one of the leading citizens of this county, and was called 
the "bull dog of the bone yard," by many, refused to allow me 
to load my seed on cars on the siding at Widener. 

I laid my complaint before the agent at the Widener station. 
He told me that gentleman had no right, ground or authority 
to prevent me loading on the siding. He said he would both 
wire and write the company that night in reference to the mat- 
ter. I paid no attention to this obstruction, I was only worried 
about the car shortage. I went to Little Rock next morning to 
see the R. R. officials. I was invited in and given a seat and told 
that I could see the superintendent in a few minutes. 

When my turn came I was invited into the superintendent's 

"Good morning Uncle Scott." 

"Good morning Mr. Cahill." 

316 From Slavery to Wealth 

"I see that you are being interfered with down there about 
loading your seed." 

"Yes sir, to some extent I am." 

*'I will attend to that at once." He called his stenographer 
and started to dictate a letter to Capt Fussell at Forrest City, 
Ark., as follows: 

"Sir: I have been informed by Uncle Scott here in my office 
that you had forbade him loading cotton seed on the industrial 
track at Widener, Ark., and I would like to know what author- 
ity you have to stop any one from loading seed on this industrial 

I said : "Mr. Cahill, sir, with all honor and respect to you as a 
gentleman if you can't dictate a better letter than this I would 
prefer you would not dictate any at all. I beg to say I have not 
complained to you about any difficulty about loading seed since 
I have been here in your offijce. I think the better way would 
be for you to say you had been advised by your agent at Widener 
that he had prevented Uncle Scott from loading seed in the in- 
dustrial track at Widener." 

"I would be more than glad to have you know that I am a 
Negro and a Republican. Mr. Fussell of Forrest City, Ark., is 
a white man and a democrat. And this Negro and the white 
man will be down there face to face. He would likely want to 
know why I had gone to Little Rock to see about this industrial 
track and had not been to see him. For this reason I would 
prefer you would not write any letter, as the Negro and the 
white man would be involved in a difficulty and you will be sit- 
ting here revolving around in your high chair. When I get 
home I will go and see Mr. Fussell and take care of the situation. 
My business here is to look after another matter entirely." 

"Every seed house I have between Memphis and Madison is 
rammed full of seed. I have up to date about $25,000 tied up 
in cotton seed, and these seed are heating and damaging. I 
understand the R. R. Commissioners have made it very plain 
that where people are handling perishable goods, they must have 
first choice of cars for shipping purposes. You will please note 
that I am paying out over $5,000 a day for cotton seed. I note 

Life of Scott Bond 317 

cars up and down the line are being loaded with lumber which 
does not appear to me to be perishable goods. I am a country 
man, living away back out in the sticks and uneducated. I also 
have large obligations to meet. Unless you furnish me cars and 
relieve my condition at once I will be forced to enter suit against 
the company for damages. I had rather do anything else in the 
world than to resort to these means." 

"Well Uncle Scott how many cars will it take to relieve you?" 

"If you can furnish me eight cars a day for the next ten days, 
as all my gin plants are running at full capacity, I think that 
will finally relieve the situation." 

"I will guarantee you six cars tomorrow." 

"Please say you will have four cars placed for me today. You 
can see it is taking worlds of money per day to handle these seed. 
For an uneducated Negro living in the country in the sticks to 
have to carry a burden of this kind is pretty tough." 

"I will do my best. I will instruct our car distributor to set 
one car at each of your different plants this evening." 

All right Mr. Cahill. . Shall I go home, lie down and sleep 
sound, knowing that I am going to get six cars a day for the 
next eight or ten days ? You can readily see that if I don't get 
at least six cars a day for the next ten days it will be impossible 
for me to sleep." 

On my way back from Little Rock, I stopped at Forrest City 
to see Mr. Fussell in regard to loading cotton seed on the indus- 
trial track at Widener, Ark. I found him on the platform of 
his gin plant at Forrest City. 

It must be noted that Mr. Fussell has been for many years one 
of the strongest factors, financially, socially and morally in 
Eastern Arkansas. His power and influence were felt and exer- 
cised in everything that meant upward and forward in the devel- 
opment of the county and state, and it required on the part of 
an humble Negro like myself much care in approaching a man 
€f his standing. 

I had to change gloves to handle a matter like this. 

I said, "Good evening, Mr. Fussell." 

*'Good evening Uncle Scott." 

318 Prom Slavery to Wealth 

"I am on my way from Little Rock home. I have just left tht 
office of the officials of the R. I. Ry., and they claim that they 
have been notified by the agent at Widener that you have prohib- 
ited me from loading cotton seed on the industrial track thert 
and they attempted to take the matter up by writing you throus^ 
the mail. I told them to please not write as Mr. Fussell and my- 
self were citizens of St Francis County and taxpayers and that 
we could settle the matter between ourselves. I am now hert 
in your presence ready to go over the matter with you." 

"I would be pleased to have you know that I did not rent thi 
Richmond Cotton Oil Gin at Widener to prevent you as my 
competitor from making money. This gin had been run for 
years by different people and it never had occurred to me that 
you would object to me renting and operating this plant. As all 
of our business along financial lines has been pleasant for twenty 
or more years. You being the president of the bank of Eastern 
Arkansas and all of our business has been pleasant with thous- 
ands and thousands of dollars dealing every year, I was at a Iocni 
to know what had been the cause of his difficulty. I decided 
within myself that I must have made a mistake somewhere at 
some time, and I am very eager to know, Mr. Fussell where this 
mistake was made." 

"Uncle Scott, you have made two mistakes in your life." 

"All right, Mr. Fussell, if I have they were unintentional. I 
would be glad to have you show me the ground upon which I 
made them." 

"When you went that Negro's bond for shooting that whitt 
man you made the mistake of your life." 

"Let's see. The man whose bond I went had an old gray- 
headed decrepit father. This old man came to my office and said, 
'Uncle Scott, I came to you this morning with tears in my ey«s 
to ask you what to do?' " 

"Well Brother Whitfield, what will you have me to do?" 

"The officers of this county have arrested my son for shooting 
at that white man, and put him in jail. I have been informed 
that the ropes have been prepared and they are going to lynch 

Life of Scott Bond 321 

him tonight. I am here to ask you to advise me what I can do 
to save him ?" 

''Who do you trade with?" 

"I trade with Mr. Fussell." 

"Have you any land or property of any kind?" 

**No, I have no property except some mules, cows, cotton and 
com, and Mr. Fussell has a mortgage on the best part of that." 

"Who does your son trade with?" 

"Pettus and Buford." 

"Has he any property?" 

"Yes, he has five or six mules, some cows and plenty of cotton 
and com." 

"You go to Mr. Fussell and tell him that I sent you. Tdl him 
that you came to ask him to help you save the life of your son> 
whom you are expecting to be l3mched tonight. Tell him that 
you will give him a mortgage on your mules, cows, cotton and 
com and that you will get your son to give him a second mort- 
gage on all of his mules, cows, cotton and com if he will go on his 
bond and turn him loose. Whitfield the chances are that he will 
not do this, but he may call me up and tell me to go the bond and 
then I will be justified in going the entire bond myself. Now 
old man, brace up and quit crying and go along. I am sure 
that this will work like a charm. 

"The old man went and tearfully laid his case before Mr. Fus- 
sell, who said, *No, Whitfield, I cannot afford to do that. This 
was a white man that you shot at, and I can't afford to go a col- 
ored man's bond for shooting at a white man.' " 

"The old man was at a loss. Whitfield was well acquainted 
with Mr. Otto Rollwage, a prominent lawyer and he knew that 
Mr. Rollwage was also friendlly with me. Mr. 0. B. Rollwage 
called up at my office in Madison but I had gone to Edmondson. 
He then called me over long distance at Edmondson. He said 
to me, "Uncle Scott, old man Whitfield is in a lot of trouble. He 
is here in my office and wants you and me to make bond to let 
his son out of jail in order that he may escape death tonight. 

"I told him when he had made the bond and had signed it that 
I would give him the power of attorney to sign my name to 

322 From Slavery to Wealth 

the same. This was done at once. Mr. RoUwa^fe found the 
sheriff and had Whitfield turned out. We both knew that he 
would run away and never return. This has been years and 
the man has never returned. Mr. RoUwage and I handled the 
case and settled the bond. 

''Now Mr. Fussell you can see at a glance that it was policy 
for me to do this as it was for the welfare of the entire commun- 
ity. The white man at whom Whitfield shot, you see Mr. Fussell, 
had allowed himself to be too familiar with that class of Negroes^ 
They had been associated in some kind of game and there was 
quite a crowd, both white and colored present and it was said 
that this Negro was a winner. It was said that after he won 
the money in sight that he also won a mule and the white man 
refused to deliver the mule and that this brought on the shoot- 

Just at this time a well known citizen, Mr. Bud Horton, came 
up. Mr. Fussell called Mr. Horton and related the conversation 
that had just passed between us. 

Mr. Horton said, "Mr. Fussell, that white man was a desperate 
character and you and I cannot aflford to countenance that kind 
of a white man associating with that class of Negroes." 

Mr. Fussell being a true hearted gentleman said, "Bud, I guess 
you are right. If that was the condition of affairs it should be 
tolerated by nobody." 

I said, "Now Mr. Fussell, that is my first mistake, please tell 
me the second." 

"When you went that white man's bond that Mr. Sweet had 
arrested for hiring the hand from his farm out of the crops to 
dig shells, then and there you made a mistake." 

"I think that it was policy for me to go this man's bond because 
he owed me an account of $69.40 in the store, and when he walk- 
ed into my store with the sheriff Saturday evening and told me 
that he was under arrest and that he wanted me to go his bond 
until Monday morning at 9 o'clock, Mr. Fussell if I had said 
no that debt would have been paid, don't you think so?" 

"I guess that you are right." 

He met the court on Monday morning and that was the end of 

Life of Scott Bond 323 

my responsibility on his bond and Mr. Nimoos, one of the biggest 
merchants in Eastern Arkansas, went his bond for the Circuit 

Mr. Fussell said, "Uncle Scott, you were all right You did 
what I or any other man would have done under the circum- 
stances, and I will say right here after looking over our dealing 
I think that we understand each other. Go ahead and load all 
the seed that you want to and anything else that you want to do 
in this county let me know and I am with you." 

When I got home I met my son, Theo. He said : "Pa it looks 
ad if your trip away brought us some comfort We got four cars 

"Son that may be true. Christ went away in order that the 
Comforter might come. We have the promise of six cars a day 
for ten days beginning tomorrow. I am sure this will give ease." 

It was the duty of Theo the manager of all the gins to visit 
all these plants, pay off the labor and check up the bookkeeper 
at each plant. This he was well prepared to do, and he kept 
everything in good shape. 

At that time our pay roll at the gin plants alone amounted to 
about $1,800. I am proud to say tiiat we were very successful 
that year with the gin business and closed up in fine shape and 
made some money. 


While clearing a piece of land on one of my farms last spring I 
^Sosad a low place some 15 acres in extent, the greater part of it 
^•J^wered with water. I could easily have drained it into a nearby 
* Bayou or slough, but thought I would try another way to make it 
profitable. I could see enormous frogs on the chunks and logs. 
This gave me an idea. I had often read and heard of bull frogs 
as a delight for the table, so I came to the conclusion to in- 
vestigate this line of activity. It was not long before I found cut 
that frogs were more valuable than chickens and cost infinitely 
less to feed. Without going into detail I have the frog industry 
under way and unless I am very much mistaken I shall make it 
return a handsome profit. 

324 From Slavery to Wealth 


When the great flood of 1912 reached its crest, I found the 
entire community was financially embarrassed. I wondered what 
would be the best thing for me to do to better my condition, I 
concluded to put in a saw mill, as I had vast quantities of timber 
about 12 milas up the St. Francis river. 

When the waters receded there was no time to hesitate so I 
put in a saw mill and had the timber cut and rafted down to the 
mill, and made arrangements with Messrs. Rudd and Stewart 
two colored men from Mississippi to operate the mill. These 
men were experienced in this class of work. I soon found I was 
threatened with an injunction. This came from a class of men 
that had never done anything themselves and had always ob- 
jected seeing any one, white or black succeed in a business way. 
It consisted of three-fourths of all the white men in the town in 
which I lived. I felt that I was right and went about the mat- 
ter in a business way. I tried to explain to those people in a 
way that I was harming no one by putting in this mill ; that it 
would give employment to a number of people and cause hun- 
dreds of dollars to be spent in the town, that would otherwise not 
be spent. They said I should put in no saw mill here. "This 
is a white man's country, and white men are going to rule." 

I said, "Well gentlemen I think in pai-t you are right, but you 
must realize the class of white men who object to me putting in 
this mill are carix^t baggers from the noHh and do not represent 
the sentiments of aristocratic southern born democrats. I have 
been in the state of Arkansas since 1861, some 50 odd years and 
consider that I am a tax payer and a citizen of this state. I 
would prefer not to be molested and to go along with this en- 

I went to the officials and taxpayers of the community and 
laid the situation before them. They told me to go ahead and 
they would see that I was not molested. Yet the injunction 
was brought. 

I hope the reader will see my condition with a vast amount of 
property, farms and people and stock to be fed from my hands 
to be handicapped like this. 

life of Scott Bond 327 

- Feeling proud as I have always felt as a citizen of this com- 
munity, I would not permit myself to yield to this narrowness. 

I was compelled to answer the charges of the injunction and 
went to the court house the morning the injunction was filed and 
the attorney they had in charge, being a reputable, broad-hearted 
southern born gentleman who had won numbers of cases for me, 
said to me: ''Uncle Scott I am getting out papers to file an 
injunction to prevent you from putting up that saw mill. I 
thought I would call you and let you know what I was doing." 

"All right judge I have always tried to be obedient to the laws 
of my land. Now what will you have me to do?" 

He said the object of his client was to have me stop. 

"You mean to stop building up the mill?" 

"Yes, that is the object of this injunction." 

"All right, I shall stop now. Now what else judge?" 

"That is all that is the end of it. That is all my client Mr. 
Edwards is asking for." 

This was on Monday morning. I hope the reader will note, 
that Mr. Edwards' attorney just asked me to stop and did not 
tell me not to commence any more. So I stopped all that day, 
went home and went to bed and realized that I would not be in 
contempt of court if I should start on Tuesday morning. Know- 
ing my opponent was a hired man, and compelled to go about 7& 
miles to his work, in order to hold his job, that I could double 
my forces and go to work until Saturday night, before he could 
get back. His associates in the town, who were opposing me, 
began at once to telephone and wire Mr. Edwards that I had 
begun work again. But by me knowing that he was financially 
tied to his boss, I felt no uneasiness. I doubled my crew and 
finished all the lower part of my mill by the last of the week 
and was putting all my machinery upstairs when the next Mon- 
day came. Mr. Edwards was on hand. I was at the court house 
and met Mr. Edwards and his attorney in the office. The at- 
torney said to me : "Uncle Scott what in the world is the matter 
with you?" 

"What do you refer to judge?" 

"Why the filing of that injunction." 

328 From Slavery to Wealth 

"Judge I did just what your client asked me to do. He asked 
me to stop and I stopped all that day and judge you did not tell 
me not to start any more, so I did not think I was showing con- 
tempt when I started again Tuesday morning." 

There was a hearty laugh between the lawyer, his client and 

"I will fix you this time so you will stop and not start again." 

"All right judge, but I don't see how you are going to do that, 
because I have completed the lower building and do not need an- 
other inch of space on the ground. I am now working up stairs 
up in space. It don't look like anybody could object to one 
working up stairs." 

"You seem to have some idea of what law is but when I get 
through with you this time you will be tied and the chances are, 
you will have to pay a large sum of money for contempt of 

"All right judge, what you say, I suppose is true. You are a 
good lawyer and know your business." 

The next morning the deputy sheriff came to Madison arid 
served his papers on me. After reading the papers, I thought 
I had detected a mistake in them. I asked him please to read 
them again slowly. I had detected the mistake and said to the 
sheriff, "As you go back to the court house will you please leave 
these papers with Mr. Walter Gorman who is my attorney?" 

He replied: "Yes, Uncle Scott, I will." 

It was about six o'clock in the evening and we all stopped. I 
went to my office at 7 o'clock that evening and called up my at- 
torney and asked him if the deputy sheriff had left some papers 
with him, and if he had reviewed the contents of the same. As 
I expected, he laughed and said : 

"Keep on at work, those papers can not harm you." 

The case was set for fourteen days later. By that time I had 
finished my mill and had sawed something over a carload of lum- 
ber. All the white people of our little town who had induced 
Mr. Edwards to file the injunction in the face of all the laws of 
the community in which we live, were saying, some of them, he 



Life of Scott Bond 329 

will be runined forever ; others that he thinks he is smart, but he 
will get left this time. 

The case was to be tried before the Chancery Court and I 
found out the day before the trial that unfortunately for my op- 
ponent, there would be no trial on that day because of the illness 
of the Chancery judge. On the day set, however, Mr. Edwards 
and his witnesses dressed up and went to the court house for the 
trial, while I and my crew were cutting lumber to beat the band. 
About 11 o'clock, one of Mr. Edwards' friends, who was a great 
factor in the opposition to the mill, sauntered up to the mill and 
said : "What are you doing?" 

I said: " I am cutting lumber to beat the band." 

**Don't you know that this is the day for the trial ?'* 

"That certainly is the fact. Why in the world didn't you 
notify me in advance?" 

He laughed and said : "It was none of my business to remind 
you. I thought you were able to take care of yourself." 

"That may be true but any one is liable to forget." 

"You are surely into it because they will surely get judgment 
against you for all sorts of offences against the law today." 

"Well, I guess you are right, but as I did not think of it this 
morning, I will just keep on sawing, as I may not get to saw 
any more after today." 

By this time Mr. Edwards, my opponent and his witnesses 
began to arrive and to give out the news that the trial was post- 
poned. The fellow who had just told me that this waa the day 
for the trial said : "That nigger must have been aware that the 
trial would be put off because he was perfectly contented and was 
sawing lumber to beat the band." , 

The hearing was postponed another month. At the expira- 
tion of that time I had cut and shipped 10 car loads of lumber 
to the J. 0. Nesser Lumber Co., Chicago, 111. 

When the day of the hearing of the injunction arrived, I was 
on hand with my attorney and defense. The case was called. 
When the other side had presented their case my attorney got 
up and explained to the judge where the other side had no case 
whatever. He explained to the judge the mistake that had been 

330 From Slavery to Wealth 

made in issuing the papers. The attorney on the other side rose . 
and said : 

''That is a mere technicality in law." 

The judge ruled that a technicality was just as great as any 
other part of the law and that he would have to find some other 
point in law to offset this technicality. This could not be done by 
the other side and the court ruled that they had no case. 

First, they sat down on their rights too long. The evidence 
shows this man Scott Bond had already put in the boom at his 
mill something over $15,000 worth of timber and had on the 
ground machinery and buildings which would amount to about 
$25,000. This within itself would demand a $40,000 bond. I 
find here your bond would not equal one one-hundredth part of 
this amount. On these grounds the court dissolves the injunction. 

It was then I felt good over my case and was indeed sorry for 
the other side, for they did look pitiful. 

I am sure one can see along here what a great hill I had to 
climb, trying to feed about 800 colored people and about 475 head 
of mules, being handicapped by that kind of ijeople. 

I want to say right here to both white and black, that when- 
ever any man in the south tries to serve God, do right and live 
a good citizen, God says, "He shall wax fat and grow strong." 
I would be glad to have the reader to note here that the senti- 
ment of the class of white people who oppose me, was not the 
sentiment of cultured refined white people of the south. 

I moved on with the mill, finished cutting out all my timber 
and made a success of the same, and got enough profit out of it to 
help feed all those people and to make crop that year. 


Life of Scott Bond 331 


Following the overflow of 1912 as the water went down, I 
followed with my ploughs and seed as they do in the valley of the 
Nile. I got a very early start as most of my land was bedded 
before the water came. This gave me an unusually early start. 
Cotton and corn came up to a fine stand. There was nothing to 
do but get scrapers and hoes to work. When the hands on the 
different plantations went to the field on Monday morning, be- 
hold, instead of scraping and chopping, we had to go to planting 
as the cut worms had eaten off the entire crop. This was the 
case with all the farmers of this part of the country. This 
brought on heavier expenses and more hustling. 

We got the second stand all 0. K By this time the weather 
had grown warmer and the cut worms gave way to the heat. 
We succeeded in chopping over and saved about two-thirds of a 
stand. We were plowing up and planting over com and cotton 
the entire season. Finally after the whole year's labor, we were 
unable to grow any com whatever. We succeeded in gathering 
about a half a crop of cotton, about 475 bales. The prices of 
cotton that year were normal. 

This was my second crop failure. But I always made it a 
rule to keep in good cheer, and said to my sons, who were at that 
time partners with me, in the mercantile business: "Boys this 
is the second crop failure, but these failures seldom succeed each 
other, we are going to make a crop. There is no feed in the 
barns for the mules and no meat and bread for the hands. But 
we will grow a crop anyhow, so come on and lets go." 

This encouraged my boys and we all started out in good 
cheer, business picked up. About the time we got under head- 
way plowing, came the 1913 overflow. Again as the waters re- 
ceded we followed with the sowing. This unusual thing of one 
overflow following an overflow, it seemed that the whole earth 
was alive with cutworms. It seemed that it would be impossible 
to hold a stand of com or cotton. The 1912 overflow was the 
first in 15 years. 

We would start to planting on a hundred acre piece. Before 
we could get over we would go back and upon examining the 

332 From Slavery to Wealth 

seed in the drills we could pick up a handful of seed and cut 
worms. These pests had actually bitten off the sprouting plants 
before they could get through the ground. I had always been 
a fellow with a good nerve but this test certainly put me to think- 
ing. I came by the saw mill and called Messrs. Rudd and 
Stewart aside and held a consultation with them. I said : "Look 
here boys this thing is coming to a test. I am practically at a 
loss what to do." 

Mr. Rudd said, "what is the matter?" 

I said: "The two overflows have filled the earth jamb full of 
worms. We have ploughed up and planted the second time. 
I have used all my teams to such an extent in ploughing up and 
planting the second time, my hands have become disheartened 
and discouraged. The better part of them were already in debt 
because of the short crop the year before. They all seemed to 
be dragging and doing no good. I am at a loss what to do." 

Mr. Rudd said : "Let's shut the mill down the logs won't rot 
in the river. Let's take the hands and go and make a crop. 
The farm is the foundation of the saw mill, the store and every 
thing else." 

I said, "No Mr. Rudd, that will not do, for when you take 
hands from a saw mill and put them to work on the farm it looks 
as if the saw mill unfits them for farming. Don't believe we will 
ever get them to work on the farm." 

Mr. Rudd said : "Yes I will go to them and tell them we are 
going to shut down the mill. Come and let's go to the farm." 

I told him all right, he could go and try. This would give us 
some extra teams and the chances were that we would get plant- 
ed the third time. It may be that we will have a late frost. If 
so we might make a pretty fair crop. This was done and we 
succeeded in planting over the third time. 

By this time the weather was so hot that the cut worms could 
not do the damage they had done earlier. This required hust- 
ling almost night and day, trying to get a crop. The cotton 
looked for a while as though it might be prosperous, but we had 
an early frost and gathered very little corn, and only gathered 
260 bales of cotton. 

Life of Scott Bond 333 


By this time people far and near were alarmed over the con- 
dition of affairs. The question was with merchants and labor- 
ers. "What is to become of the country?" Levee and county 
taxes twice a year. No com, meat nor bread in the entire 
country. All these things had to be shipped in from other 
points. By this time I could hear of my contemporary mer- 
chants all over the county, making assignments, throwing up 
their hands and walking out. This condition of affairs began 
to make me wonder. I was always one of the fellows to hold on 
and never give up under a burden, no matter how heavy. I said 
I have not failed in life. There is no excuse for complete fail- 
ure and I will never allow myself to concede to one. So I got 
both my sons in the office and shut the door. 

I said: "Boys times are looking very critical. These many 
failures have put our entire country to a loss. What can we do 
to succeed?" 

One boy would say one thing and the other would say another. 
The subject was discussed pro and eon. I had never up to this 
time given a mortgage. And the boys were unable to figure 
out any means by which we could make another crop. I looked 
at them and really felt sorry. I said to them : "Boys, I do not 
yield. This is nothing. Let's go and make another crop." 

At that time I saw no way wha'tever. I went home and went 
to bed, but did not sleep any that night. We were already in 
debt and then had to make a crop; not a dollar to make it on, 
not a pound of meat and no feed for stock. 

I met my boys at the store, braced up and scraped up the best 
look I could get on my face and said : "Boys we are all right. 
We are going to succeed." 

This seemed to cheer them up wonderfully, as they were boys 
who always had confidence in their father's financial ability. 
They said : "All right pa, whatever you say goes." 

I took the train for Memphis and went to my commission 
man to whom I already owed a nice little sum of money. I found 
him to have a pretty long face on him. It looked something like 

334 From Slavery to Wealth 

a horse collar. All the commission men up and down front row, 
in Memphis seemed to wear the same kind of face. 

I went into Wilkerson and Carrol Cotton Co. 

"Good morning." 

"Good morning Uncle Scott. Walk in and take a seat." 

"Thank you sir." And I sat down. 

"What are the people doing in Arkansas?" 

"They seem to be doing the same things I see the merchants 
doing up and down Front row." 

"How is that Uncle Scott.?" 

"All of us like the people of the entire south are wearing long 
faces looking like horse collars." 

This created a little laugh. 

"Well Uncle Scott what are we all going to do?" 

"That is just what I am over here for now, to find out what 
are we going to do. As for myself I am going to succeed. I do 
not know what the balance of the people will do." 

"You seem to be in good cheer." 

"Yes, sir, I always have been and always will be as long as 
there is breath." 

"I will admit that I am in debt and owe more than I can pay 
at this juncture. I only feel humble for one cause. That is if 
I can live and have health I know I am going to succeed." 

I have a proposition to put to you. I admit that I owe you and 
others more money than I can pay and I have not the heart to 
ask you to furnish me any more money to make this crop with. 
I am willing to secure you, with a mortgage for $10.00 on every 
dollar I owe you and will owe you, at the close of this crop. In 
doing this I shall ask you for enough money to secure my out- 
side obligations, with the different banks of my town and others^ 
which will give me about $10,000 to operate on and meet my 
outside obligations. This was agreed to, when the papers were 
fixed up and signed, which took about five or six days. In the 
meantime seeing that I had the arrangement made, I asked him 
to write Ely, Walker and Co., St. Louis and say to them I have 
made arrangements to get the money to pay them. Also the 
Forrest City Grocery Co. 

"All right Uncle Scott, we will do that." 

»»•■. ■ 



Life of Scott Bond 337 

''When I am gone you will forget this. Please dictate these 
letters in my presence." 

I saw both letters written, grabbed my hat, caught the next 
train out for home feeling all 0. K. 

Met my boys, got them in my office and related to them my 
entire business trip. They were wdl pleased, but Theo dropped 
his head and said, 'Ta that is something I never saw you do in 
your life." 

"My boy, that is true your father has never experienced such 
times as these in all his many years. While it may look a little 
tough to you, you should look beck on this and see that it is 
worth something to be able to furnish the collateral." 

At the time this contract was made and agreed to, I failed to 
have Mr. Wilkerson to give me a copy of the agreement we had 
entered into, thinking his word was O. K. 

In eight or ten days I drew on him for $500. In about fifteen 
days more I drew on him for $1,500. A few days later I drew 
on him for $975. This draft was not honored. I said to the 
party who returned the draft to me : "I will go at once and find 
out what is the matter.'' I went to Memphis next morning and 
called on Mr. Wilkerson. He bade me good morning and asked 
how was everything in Arkansas. 

"My business over here is to find out why you did not honor 
my draft." 

"I have already cashed several drafts for you." 

"That is true but they were nothing like $10,000. At the time 
I gave you the mortgage you agreed to let me have that amount 
of money at once. I explained to you plainly that I was giving 
you as security $75,000 worth of property for what I already 
owed you, and also for the $10,000 to meet my outstanding ob- 

"Well money is very hard to get hold of. It is mighty scarce 
and I don't know about that." 

You don't think Mr. Wilkerson that I would give you that 
amount of security on all my property and leave all my other 
creditors imperiled who had always befriended me?" 

"The other fellows can wait as well as I can." 

338 From Slavery to Wealth 

That is true, but you are secured $25.00 for every dollar that 
I owe you and the other people have no security whatever, and 
they are not going to wait. I am going to pay them and I am go- 
ing to sue you, if you are the last man alive." 

"You have jio written contract to show that I promised to let 
you have $10,000." 

"That is true but I have your word and I thought at that time 
your word was worth $500,000. Mr. Wilkerson I am bound to 
sue you. There is no way for me to get out of it." 
On what ground are you going to sue me?" 
On your signature in black and white." I am in a position 
to produce two letters, one written to Ely Walker and Co., of St 
Louis, and one to the Forrest City Grocery Co., of Forrest City, 
Ark., telling them you had made arrangements with me to let me 
have $10,000." 

"I have never written any such letters." 

"Just press the button and I will show you." 

Mr. Wilkerson's son came in. I said to the young man: 
"Please refer to your files and see if you don't find two letters 
written on the 15th of March, one to Forrest City, Ark., and 
the other to St. Louis, Mo. 

He did so and brought the letters in. 

I said to him : "We will excuse you. You may go in the other 



Mr. Wilkerson read the letters carefully and then he got up 
and said : "Uncle Scott I have done all that I can do." 

"Mr. Wilkerson that is all a government mule can do. If you 
have done all you can do, I am too broad to ask a man to do some- 
thing he cannot do, but I am going to make a crop and pay the 
other right away. I will not bother you for any more money." 

I took the train and came home. At that time my boys and 
myself had about $30,000 life insurance and had been carrying 
the same for a good many years. I had the boys write and ask 
the insurance people if there was any chance of me drawing on 
my policies. 

My letter was promptly answered. I was informed that the 
insurance people would be glad to furnish me with what money 

life of Scott Bond 339 

I needed and the blanks for loans was sent me. These papers 
were defective on account of the lack of by wife's signature. 
She was in ill health and I had sent her to Harper's Ferry, in 
Virginia. When the papers were sent in they sent me a. check 
for the money. This put us in position to meet our obligations 
and to go ahead with my farming. 

After all these disasters, ups and downs, the crop was finally 
made and gathered and it only amounted to 250 bales when there 
should have been 1,000 bales. 

I paid Mr. Wilkerson all that I owed him and a part on the old 
debt that I had formerly owed him. 

This crop followed the 1913 overflow and was up to that time 
the most disastrous of all. At this time the entire south was 
alarmed over the condition of affairs. There was no money 
in the country, no com, no meat, no bread nor hay. It had got 
to the place where it was not a matter of collateral, it was a mat- 
ter of finding the money. Everybody was looking one after the 
other, asking one another what could be done. 

By this time I had put in operation what is known as the 
gravel pit. This plant cost about $15,000 to get it in operation. 
Half the proceeds from the gravel sales to the Ry. Co. had to be 
paid on the plant. After giving half of the proceeds each month 
and paying the labor and other operating expenses there was 
left a net monthly balance of about $400. With the proceeds 
derived from the gravel pit I was able to buy one carload of oats 
in order to start to plowing. This only amounted to about one 
sack to the mule around. By the time we had gotten in a way 
of plowing the oats were all gone. 

Now I want to say to you that you can imagine what must 
have been the condition of the country at this time. There were 
more merchants, more bankers and more farmers threw up their 
hands and made assignments and went out of business than I had 
seen at any time in all my life. 

I had always thought that I could raise my bristles as high as 
any dog in the bone yard, but all this put me to looking and 
thinking. I thought of an old maxim that I had long heard of : 
"If you dread the bulls' heels you would never skin his eyes." 

340 From Slavery to Wealth 

So when I looked around and saw all these mules and about 800 
Neg^roes to be fed the question uppermost with me was ''Where 
in the world is the money coming from?" 

I then began to get mysdf together. I saw that it would 
take some financiering to get through this condition. I. called 
Theo in and said: "Son what in the world are we to do? It 
looks like one of the famines in the time of Abraham and Joseph. 
What do you think we can do son V 

Ta I can't say, but I have always thought that if any one in 
the world could win you were the man that could win." 

**Well son you are right and right here we are going to win." 
"All right pa. It has always looked like you meant every- 
thing you said. I have always found it to come out that way." 

"We must have $10,000 from somebody, somewhere at this 

"It will take all that to do us any good in this crop, but I 
don't see where in the world you will get it from." 

"Neither do I, but it must come." 

I had been farming for myself for forty years and never 
known what a crop failure was in all these many years. Then 
to have to take three in succession, this being the third, I must 
admit that at this juncture things looked dark. 

I finally made up my mind to start out after the needed money. 
I met a friend of mine who I thought was in fine shape financial- 
ly and said to him I want $10,000. I want you to show me where 
I can find it. I have the collateral to make one perfectly safe 
$5.00 to one. 

He said : "Uncle Scott it is not a matter of collateral, the money 
can not be gotten." 

I then walked into a bank and said to the banker: "I want 
$10,000 and have got to have it from some body." 

"Why Uncle Scott are you crazy? Take three of the l>est 
money men in St Francis County and they could not raise 
$10,000 cash. There is no surplus money in this country." 

life of Scott Bond 341 

I then went over to the depot and met a railroad man and said : 

"How do you doT* 

'*A11 right Uncle Scott, how are you this morning." 

I told him O. K. 

We had some little things in common in our past life. We 
talked and laughed for about twenty minutes. Finally I said 
to him : "I have got to have $10,000." 

"It I had met you last week, I could have let you have it. I am 
going to Little Rock this morning, and I think I know some one 
who can let you have it." 

"Tell him I will give $5.00 collateral for every one I need." 

In a few days I had a letter from this party, stating that he 
understood I wanted some money and I had plenty of good col- 
lateral and would like a loan. If this be true he could let me 
have about $15,000. 

When I read the letter I struck a trail. I was very busy at the 
time arranging my farming business and in a day or two I 
started for Little Rock. My aim was to take the train in For- 
rest City. I met another banker there. This was a gentleman 
with whom I had had a big law suit, and who was a dear friend 
of mine, even at the time of the law suit. (I won this suit.) 

"Hello Uncle Scott, how are you this morning?" 

"All right sir, aU O. K. How are you?" 

"I am in good shape. By the way, I understood the other day 
that you were w^mting some money." 

"Yes sir, that's true." 

"How much do you want?" 

"I am bound to have $10,000." 

"That ain't no little bit" 

"You right about that, the way times are now." 

"IDo you think you can arrange to get it?" 

"Yes sir. It is not a matter of thinking with me, I must have 

'•Who have you been trying?" 

"I have spoken to several parties concerning the matter. I 
am now on my way to see a party in Little Rock who has written 
me. Here is his letter." 

342 From Slavery to Wealth 

He opened the letter and read its contents and said this f dloT^ 
wants to let you have $15,000." 

"Yes that is what he said." 

"Well he is all right, he is president of one of the biggest banks 
in the city of Little Rock." 

"That is more money than I want, I just want $10,000." 

"When do you want it?" 

"Inside of ten days." 

"All right, when you get ready just come in and I will let you 
have it." 

"That will suit me. When I get back to my store I will send 
you collateral; you can examine the records and you can have 
proper papers drawn at once." 

When the papers were all signed and the money received* 
Theo said: "Pa this is all right. We are now shaped up for 
another crop. We will double our determination right here and 
go after it good and hard. Pa I want to congratulate you. You 
are a dandy." 

Now com and hay, meat and bread, and every body went to 
hustling. The gravel pit was turning out from 10 to 15 cars a 
day. The pay roll for the gravel pit amounted to from fifteen 
hundred to twenty-two hundred a month. Myself and every 
one else hustled from day break until dark. There was no over- 
flow that year and we succeeded in making and getting a fine 
cotton crop, made and gathered about 850 bales. Bless the Lord 
there was another failure after all. The European war came 
and we could not sell cotton for four cents a pound. Last but 
not least we made and gathered 15,000 bushels of corn, which 
was the best of all. Corn means bread which is the staff of life. 
It also means hogs and hominy. "We killed and put up that 
year 29 head of hogs. We saved pea hay and other roughage 
enough to last two years. That year the gravel pit played her 
part. We loaded and shipped out 1,580 cars of gravel, bringing 
$23,000. Then and there I doubled my hog crop more than four 
times. I increased my flocks of sheep 100 per cent. Bought 
$2,200 worth of cattle and now have 250 head of hogs, have 
large, well-fenced fields of alfalfa and other grasses, so arranged 

Life of Scott Bond 343 

that I can pasture them at will I am growing high grade regis- 
tered Hereford cattle with a view of raising the grade of my 

You can easily see here, that on account of the war, so far as 
cotton was concerned and taking into consideration the low 
prices, was as great a failure as all the balance. 

Now, things began to look better. We succeeded in making a 
good crop of com and cotton in 1915. This crop was made very 
cheaply as we had plenty of com and hay and the mules were all 
in good shape to start in with. We made and gathered that 
year 950 bales of cotton and the prices were all the way from 9 
to 14 cents. Cotton seed ranged from $30 to $45 per ton. The 
gravel pi^; that year ran on time. We loaded one thousand six 
hundred cars of gravel. Cotton crop and gravel aggregated 

In the early winter of 1915 I bought a Hercules stump puller 
and with it removed most of the stumps from a 300 acre field 
preparing to eventually operate traction plows. This machine 
was able to pull any stump we could hitch it to regardless of its 
size or root hold. I then continued my general plan of surface 
or open drainage (which will later be changed to tile drains) so 
that when the farming season of 1916 opened I concluded ta 
work this farm with month labor. I got everything in readi- 
ness, hired my crew and started plowing and discing. I culti- 
vated 200 acres in cotton and 100 acres in corn. I also had in- 
49 acres of wheat. The wheat turned out fine. Was reaped! 
and threshed on time and put on the market at a fair price. The 
com crop was normal. Cotton turned out wonderfully. The 
cotton which I grew with month labor, when I sold the seed 1 
found the returns from them had paid the entire cost of the 
crop including rent, picking and ginning. 

This cotton was graded and classed a splendid bender and sold 
on the market all the way from 22 to 35 cents a pound. I can 
say that I received as much money this year off of 100 acres in 
cotton as I had received from 500 acres in many other years. 
We gathered, handled and sold 1,680 bales of cotton from this 
year's crop on my several plantations. 


From Slavery to Wealth 

I very often stc^ now and look around and think over the ruK- 
ged road that I have traveled up to this juncture. It looks al- 
most impossible for a man to overcome the apparently insur- 
mountable difficulties that lay across my way in tiie years that 
are gone. The money that we paid out this year, for rebate on 
cotton seed alone will amount to something over $200,000. We 
paid as high as $62.00 per ton for cotton seed. 

We had counted on ginning about 1,600 bales of cotton, but 
have up to January 25 ginned 2,680 bales. This cotton was 
ginned from September 1st up to this date. 

There has been more money received from this year's crop 
than I ever saw come from one crop in any year of my life. 
Many colored people who had never deposited a dollar in the 
bank in their life, carried their money to the banks in their over- 
coat pockets, in their hands and some pulled off their hats and 
carried their hats full and handed them over to the teller and 
would say : "I came here to bank my money and I want you to 
^ow me how to do it." 


Mr. Bond had been pressed by Dr. Washington to attend the 
Farmers' Conference at Tuskegee, but owing to pressure of business 
did not do so until he received a letter from him urging Mr. Bond 
to attend, and stating that if he would come transportation and 
hotel expenses would be paid. Upon receipt of this his son said to 
him: *'Pa, they certainly want you to come and you ought to ac- 
cept this invitation.** He finally decided to go to the conference. 
When Mr. Bond saw the wonderful work at Tuskegee in his several 
visits he at once made up his mind that it would be good for the 
colored people and, in fact, for the whole state, if Mr, Washington 
could be induced to visit Arkansas. Acting upon this conclusion he 
began to put forth every effort to consummate this idea. His wish 
was granted at a most unexpected time and in a way that he had not 
dreamed of. It came about in this way. The National Negro 
Business League of which Mr. Bond is a life member was holding 
its annual session in New York City. Dr. Washington had written 
him, asking if he could count on his attendance at the meeting, 
Mr. Bond replied that he would hardly be able to be present. He 
says: "My reason for so writing Dr. Washington was that as I 
was uneducated, I did not want to get up before any audience in 
New York City to make a speech." 

The set program included in its numbers some of the leading mfin 
of the United States, among whom were former President Boose- 
velt, Seth Low, Wm. Lloyd Garrison and many other notable men. 
Col. Roosevelt had just made one of his telling speeches when Dr. 
Washington, president of the League, said to the audience! "Wf^ 
shall have to vary from the program at this time. 1 see in the audi- 
ence a man from Arkansas, Mr. Scott Bond. We are going to ask 
Mr. Bond to come forward and tell us of Arkansas. Mr. Bond will 
please come forward.'' 


846 From Slavery to Wealth 

Mr. Bond, who was in the rear of the hall, says, **You can 
imagine my feelings as the committee escorted me to the rostrunu 
All the way I was asking myself what could I say. When I got 
upon the rostrum and looked over that vast sea of faces I made up 
my mind to talk just as I did at home." 

The files of newspapers of that date quote Mr. Bond as saying : 
'* Ladies and gentlemen, here stands before you an old one-gallused 
farmer who never went to school two weeks in his life, but I am 
In a position to see the difference between the Negro of the north 
and the Negro of the south. I find that New York numbei's in its 
population 175,000 Negroes. Negroes have no more business here 
than a rabbit. The majority of the white people here have shown 
me very clearly that they don't want us here. They also show 
that they don't need us. They do not come out directly, but indi- 
rectly they do. They don't give them employment on the streets, 
the railroads, the sky-scrapers nor other buildings. I hired a young 
man yesterday and paid his street car fare to visit all the colored 
enterprises of the city with me. I have one little Negro to whom 
1 rent a store right along side my store, who is postmaster. I am 
on his bond for $3,000. I see that that little Negro is selling more 
dry goods than all the 175,000 Negroes in the citj. of New York 
put together. 

** Ladies and gentlemen, that shows you at a glance that this is 
no place for the Negro. The only professions that I see the Negroes 
of this city have are coachmen for the millionaires, janitors in some 
of the buildings and a few letter-carriers. Among the 175,000 of 
my people there are many college graduates. I want to ask a ques- 
tion right here : Is it possible that a young man has to spend eight 
or nine years getting an education to be a janitor in a flat! I want 
to say to the Negroes of the north, come to the south, where the 
greatest commodity of the world is produced, and I will give you 
a dollar, put you on a farm and give you a chance. (Loud and 
prolonged applause.) 

**Not only can I show you Negroes working in every avenue of 
industry, I will show you railroads which have Negro section fore- 
men from one end of the line to the other. There are localities after 
localities that are absolutely ovnied and controlled by colored peo- 

Life of Scott Bond 347 

pie, with Negro mayors, Negro aldermen, Negro marshals, Negro 
railroad agents, Negro telegraph operators, Negro contractors and 
builders, and in many otter lines. In fact, we can show you 
Negroes in everything from the pig pen to the white house. It is 
with much pleasure that this Business League has shown that there 
are thousands of farms owned by colored people in the south, and 
very much to my regret it has also shown that there are 63 banks 
owned by colored people in the south, but not one owned by Negroes 
in the north. My way of looking at things in this country is the 
south is a paradise for the colored man. I will admit that there 
are a few white people in the south that from time to time cause 
trouble and friction, but all broad-hearted people can see that it 
takes all of one fellow's time to hold the other fellow in the ditch. 
It has always been a mystery to me why the man who has the great- 
est occupation in the world is ashamed of his profession. I note 
chat there are a number of farmers who are ashamed to say they are 
farmers, but call themselves agriculturists. Farming is the only 
independent living in the world. He only has to depend on nature 
and the season. There is Mr. Eoosevelt who, if the country called 
him and his wife wanted him, he would have to say, 'Stand still, 
wife, let me go and see what the nation wants.' 

**I want to say to this audience, both ladies and gentlemen, just 
look at this old one-gallused farmer. If this nation or all the na- 
tions should call and my wife should call at the same time, I would 
say, 'Stand still, nations, I want to go and see what my beautiful 
wife wants.' The world depends on the farmer. We have the 
world by the tail and a down-hill pull ; we are in position to make 
all the city dudes pull their hats off to us. We can feed them on 
whatever we see proper to feed them on. We go to the garden and 
all the cabbages that are shrivelled up and look like they have 
snakes in them we can crate up and send to the city for the dudes 
tO eat. We can also go to the hog pen and all the hogs that have 
their hair growing from the tail to the head or have got the 
measles and we kill them and send them to the city for the aristoc- 
racy and the dudes to eat. (Laughter and applause.) This talk I am 
making is to call attention to the power the Negro has in his hands 
if he will use it, to master the entire world along economic lines. 

348 From Slavery to Wealth 

As farmers we have the first choice of the products of the earth. 
This farmer can have beefsteak for breakfast, or ham and eggs, 
chicken, milk and fresh vegetables of all varieties, fresh strawber 
ries picked while the dew is on, soaked in sugar and served with 
fresh cream. This farmer can walk in for breakfast and ask for 
whatever his taste calls for — mutton chop or pork chop — sit doMH 
to his table with a large family of boys and girls with a beautiful 
wife sitting at the head of the table and eat sumptuously and en- 
joy the comforts of the family circle, get up and put on his hat and 
walk to the front door and can see the cotton, com, potatoes and 
watermelons, fruit growing on the trees, the flowers growing in the 
yard, the calves and the pigs, the lambs and the chickens, all of 
which make him know this is home sweet home.'* 

At the close of this address Mr. William Lloyd Garrison stepped 
over to Mr. Bond and grasped his hand and said: ''Little Arkansas 
man, what you have said amounts to more than all the convention 
put together." 

Dr. Washington then took Mr. Bond's hand and said to him: 
''Mr. Bond, Arkansas has won the next meeting of the National 
Negro Business League." Thus Mr. Bond secured the promise of 
the Tuskegee wizard to visit Arkansas. Turning to the audienee. 
Dr. Washington said: "Are there any questions one would like to 
ask Mr. Bond!" Hon. J. C. Napier, Eegister of the United States 
Treasury, rose and said: *'Tes, I would like to ask Mr. Bond some 
questions. Mr. Bond, kindly tell us what is your general profee- 


Mr. Bond replied: '*I have just told the audience I am a real 
farmer, the greatest profession of the world." 

"Mr. Bond, is it not a fact that you handle a large mercantili 
establishment t" 

**Yes, sir, I run a store in connection with my farms." 

*'Do you furnish all the people who work your different farm* 
from your store!" 

"Yes, sir, the hands sell me their cotton and buy what th^ 
want from my store." 

"Is it a fact that you own and operate several gin plants and 
what is the capa'^ity of each?*' 

life of Scott Bond 349 

' ' YeSy I own three, two with a capacity of 50 bales and one with 
a capacity of 75 bales.*' 

''What make of gins do you handled 

''They are all Continental outfits, the greatest gin, that is, the 
greatest outfit made." 

"Is it a fact that you sell a large amount ot gravel to the Book 
Island Railwayt" 

•'It is." 

''I would like for you to tell the audience how much taxes you 

Mr. Bond turned to the audience and said: ''I believe it is time 
for me to stop. Some years ago at a conference in Tuskegee I al- 
lowed them to pull me out, and when I got home the county author- 
ities had raised the assessment on my property $15,000." 

••Well, did you pay itt" 

••No, I got my attorney and appeared before the board of super- 
visors and for good and just causes it was knocked out. I will 
say further that they make me pay taxes on 19 farms aggregating 
ID all 5,000 acres." 

At this juncture a lady in the audience arose and said: "I would 
like to ask Mr. Bond a question. I would like to ask what do you 
grow on these different farms T" 

Mr. Bond turned smilingly to the lady and said: ''You have 
asked a very important question. I grow everything imaginable on 
these farms: peas, com, potatoes, cotton, oats, rye, wheat, hogs, 
eattle, hay, chickens, mules and sheep and the finest boys and girls 
you ever saw." (Qreat applause.) 

When the session closed Mr. Bond was congratulated for over an 
kour. So enthusiastic and earnest was the handshaking that Mr. 
Bond's hand was so swollen the next morning that it looked lik? 
two hands. 

The following year, 1911, the National Negro Business League 
held its session in Little Bock, Ark. Here again opportunity was 
given Mr. Bond to have Dr. Washington speak in St. Francis 
Ck>unty. When the National Negro Business League had com- 
pleted its work, the Arkansas State Negro Business League pro- 
vided a special train to take the delegates on an excursion to Hot 

350 From Slavery to Wealth 

Springs. On the way back Mr. Bond said to Dr. Washington: 
**I want to oflfer an apology. It has always been my desire to have 
you visit my home county and talk to our people. Special arrange- 
ments have been made to have the people meet and hear you. All 
are expecting you. We have provided 150 beeves, hogs and sheep 
to barbecue and feed the people. The train will stop. for you. I 
have a chauffeur coming from Memphis to drive you and I do not 
believe you will refuse us." 

Dr. Washington replied: '*Well, no, I cannot refuse to accept 
this invitation. I will stop there if the train schedule permits. 

**We will arrange a special coach for your accommodation and 
the fast train will stop to pick up your car in the evening," said 
Mr. Bond. 

Dr. Washington said: '*Well, Mr. Bond, that is all right if yo* 
can do it, but I would rather see that in black and white." 

The quisical smile that played over Dr. Washington's face showed 
that he had his doubts as to Mr. Bond's influence being great enough 
to induce the railroad people to stop a fast train. Upon the return 
of the excursion from Hot Springs all retired for a good night's 
rest. The next morning, bright and early, Mr. Bond was up and 
went to the oflSees of the Rock Island Railroad. He onlj' found 
the chief clerk in the office and addressed him: **This is Uncle Scott 
Bond from Madison." 

The chief clerk said : ' * Why, this is Uncle Scott. Come in. What 
can I do for you. I had often heard of you and I am glad to meet 

Mr. Bond told him that Dr. Washington would stop at Madison 
and that while he would have no objection to riding in a jim-crow 
car, yet he and his party would be quite crowded and that if possi- 
ble he would like to provide a special car for them and have that car 
placed at the rear end of the train." 

The chief clerk told him that would be done and at once dictated 
messages to that effect ta the train dispatcher and gave Mr. Bond 
a copy of the messages. He then asked what else he could do. 

*'If Mr. Copeley was here I would like to ask one more favor, but 

Life of Scott Bond 351 

as you do not know me I do not know whether or not it would be 
all right to ask you," said Mr. Bond. 

**What is it,'' Uncle Scott t 

''I want to ask that the fast train stop at Madison and pick up 
Mr. Washngton's car that they may make connections at Memphis 
for Chicago." 

**That will be done, XJncle Scott," the chief clerk replied, and 
he immediately dictated a message to that effect and handed Mr. 
IJond a copy. 

**Now what else, Uncle Scott t" 

* * Nothing more, sir. I thank you very much for the kindness al- 
ready shown." 

Mr. Bond then had breakfast and when he met Dr. Washington 
he handed him copies of the messages. He read them and turned 
to Mr. Bush, President of the Arkansas Negro Business League, and 
said : * * Look at this. ' ' Then to Mr. Bond he said : ' ' There are few 
white men in the state of Alabama who can stop a fast train. You 
are to be congratulated on your ability to get results." 

The train pulled out of Little Bock and arrived in Forrest City on 
time. The streets were crowded with people and vehicles. Every 
conceivable kind of conveyance, from automobile to ox cart, was 
in evidence. When the automobile bearing Mr. Washington, Mr. 
Napier and Mr. Bond reached Madison, four and a half miles away, 
the last wagon was just leaving the depot at Forrest City. A 
larger number of people gatherd to meet Dr. Washington than ever 
before assembled in St. Francis County. The roads leading into 
Madison from all directions were full, were literally lined with 
people. So Scott Bond was rewarded for his years of effort to 
get Dr. Washington to advise the people of his home town. We 
present on another page a view of Dr. Washington surrounded by 
the Bond family at their beautiful home, ''The Cedars." 

352 From Slavery to Wealth 


Mr. Bond tells this story of a part of his business experience with. 
his people : I have often heard it said by a certain class of white 
people that it was impossible for Negroes to join in a business en- 
terprise and succeed, unless they had a white man to manage it for 
them. This story proves the reverse to be true. 

The second gin plant I ever owned had a capacity of forty bales 
per day, four 70s with elevators, condensers and a double press ; 50 
h. p. engine and 75 h. p. boiler. After setting up and operating 
this plant for two years, I found out that its capacity was not suf- 
ficient to accommodate the neighborhood. I was then forced to buy 
a larger plant. I had often heard my son, Theophilus, speak of a 
class of people who lived near Cotton Plant, Woodruff County, who 
were very progressive along business lines. They were all good 
farmers and owned their farms. I said: 'Now is the time to help 
ethers and myself, too.' The principal man of that community 
was a gentleman of great ability and good reputation named Em- 
mett J. Lee. I wrote Mr. Lee and asked him to come over to Madi- 
son and bring with him two or three of his best men. He replied to 
my letter and set the date he would arrive. I was about closing up 
my second year's ginning on my plant. The day of their arrival I 
had a nice day's ginning. The plant was in excellent condition 
and was doing splendid work. I invited Mr. Lee and his associates 
to walk out to the gin plant with me. I showed them through the 
engine room and then up into the gin, which was in full operation, 
around to the seed house where the seed were being blown directly 
from the gin into the railroad cars. I said to them: 'Gtentlemen, 
this gin has turned out about 2,000 bales of cotton, but yet it is 
entirely too small for this community.' When we got back to the 
office and were seated, I said : *Now, Mr. Lee, I am ready to explain 
my object in writing you to come over and bring your friends. I 
wanted yon to see the plant in full operation and the results to be 
obtained. I am ready to sell you gentlemen this plant.' 

**Mr. Lee said : *Mr. Bond, we need a plant like this in our com- 
munity, but we cannot buy an up-to-date gin plant like this. ' 
" *Why not!' I asked. 

Life of Scott Bond 353 

** * Because it is impossible in our community for a colored man 
to get fire iusurance on property.' 

*' AH right, Mr. Lee,' said I, 'as soon as you get your plant up 
T will have it. insured or it will bum up my property.' 

**I sold them the gin on payments, the first to fall due the fol- 
loning November and the remaining payments lo fall due each 
November, the total aggregating about $5,000. On one occasion finan- 
cial affairs with me were rather stringent, owing to an overflow; 
I wrote Mr. Lee, explaining to him that inasmuch as they had 
bumper crops in his county, if he could afford to do so, if he would 
make me two payments in one I would discount the deferred pay- 
ment. Mr. Lee did not answer my letter, but in about two weeks 
to my surprise he walked into my office and laid on my desk a check 
for $2,000 from the Cotton Blossom Gin Plant. I said to him : * Mr. 
Lee, this is all right. It comes in a good time. I will leave my 
son to calculate the discount and will either give you a check for 
it or give you credit as you please.' 

** *No. Mr. Bond,' was his reply to this, 'we will not accept any 
discount. It is really a pleasure to meet this obligation. Ycu sold 
lis this plant purely upon our supposed merits without any mortgage 
or collateral whatever.' 

**I had superintended the dismantling and loading the plant for 
them very carefully myself. It took three cars to haul it. I wanted 
to be sure that it was properly taken apart and loaded. This is u 
transaction between Negroes where the whole amount was paid 
twelve months before it was diie. Mr. Lee had insisted when I sold 
the plant to his company that I keep a one-fifth interest. That inter- 
est has paid me 15 per cent annually ever since the deal was made. 
From this story it can be clearly seen that it is possible for Negroes 
to succeed along business lines among themselves withoiit outside 
assistance. At one time I either read or heard that the gin plant 
had been destroyed hy a storm. Some days later I had a letter 
from Mr. Lee that the gin was destroyed, but all damages were 
fully coverd by insurance. So we are all making money." 

354 From Slavery to Wealth 


'* Whiskey has always apppeared to me to be the root of all evil." 

On the Bond farm in the time of the Civil War, there was an old 
man named Hardy Bond, who was the ''nigger driver.'* He waa 
in constant contact with the different overseers on the place, 
which gave great opportunities for buying and drinking liquor. 

The farm was located on the east side of Crowley's Bidge, 
hence the west side of the farm was hemmed in by hills and hoU 
lows. The public road, known as the Bay Boad, ran right 
through the farm. 

As there were no railroads at that time, steam boats would 
bring cargoes of goods and discharge at Wittsburg. Wagons 
would then distribute all kinds of merchandise, including liquor, 
to points in the interior. 

Old man Hardy Bond would buy whiskey from the drivers of 
these wagons, paying them in com and fodder. The drivers 
would raise a hoop on a barrel, bore a hole with a gimlet and 
draw out as much as they wanted, plug the hole and drive 'ohe 
hoop down again to hide the theft. 

These wagons, or prairie schooners, as they were called, were 
drawn by six and eight yoke of cattle, and were driven by the 
roughest class of white men that ever cracked a whip. 

When the railroads came into existence, the prairie schooners 
went into discard. 

Moonshining then took the place of the liquor provider. Hardy 
would send me to the moonshine "still" in the hills, west of the 
Bond farm every morning to get a quart of whiskey. He would 
send a canteen as he found it to hold three pints. This he could 
always get filled for a quart. This showed that the liquor had 
made a thief of him, as he had up to that time been considered per- 
fectly honest. The extra pint for nothing was too much of a 
temptation for him to resist. 

In a little while he got so he would send me morning and even- 
ing. A little later he sent for a half gallon twice a day, then for 
a gallon; then with wallet containing a gallon jug in each end 
I would have to go twice each day for two gallons. 

At last the war ended. Hardy and my step-father rented the 

Life of Scott Bond 355 

Bond farm; they would send to Wittsburg foi^ a half barrel and 
then for a barrel every week. 

One time they were to give a Saturday night "festival" in aa 
old store. On the afternoon, before the festival, my step-father 
received word that his father was dead in North Carolina. He 
turned the whole thing over to me. 

The festival broke up in a fight between two men. Some one 
put out the lights. I recovered the money which was in the cigar 
boxes, and, dodging along the wall, found the door, stepped out^ 
rolled under the house and remained there until quiet was restored. 

From that day to this, the whiskey purchased by Negroes in 
Arkansas would float the largest ship that ever sailed the sea; it 
would pay a fair price for every acre of land in the state; would 
endow a dozen such schools as Tuskegee. 

These experiences and the knowledge of the evil influence and 
results of drinking liquor, in ruined homes, ruined men, fines, and 
degradation made me an uncompromising foe to liquor and its at- 
tendant curses. 


Mr. Bond says of his first visit to Tuskegee: 

**0n a certain occasion I had an invitation to attend the Farm- 
er's Conference at Tuskegee. I finally made up my mind to ac- 
cept it and pay a viiiit to the famous institution. I had often heard 
of Tuskegee and its school. I was naturally expecting to see a 
nice school. 

**When I arrived there and saw the conditions, I was absolutely 
.surprised. I had not believed that there was a school of that class 
and quality in the world. The only way one could tell the students 
were Negro youths was that they were black. So far as their 
demeanor, ability and neat apearance went, it was really superi- 
or to anything I had ever seen. The beautiful buildings, the well 
kept grounds, the many shops, the gardens and farms were indeed 
a revelation. 

In the gardens I found every conceivable kind of a vegetable, 
the names of many of which I hardly knew. Weeds were con- 

356 • From Slavery to Wealth 

spicuoiis by their absence. There was perfect order in the plant- 
ing and so regular was the planting that it looked as if the work 
had been laid out by a surveyor. 

**I was delighted with the appearance of the young men in their 
military drills. 

There were no cigar stumps on the place, nor was there dust 
and cobwebs anywhere. 

The dining room was a marvel of neatness and would accommo- 
date two thousand five hundred. 

* The kitchens \vcre as marvelously beautiful and clean as all 
the other places about the school. One could not see the fire in 
the cook stoves. 

*'The bakery was operated by machinery of the latest design 
and from the ovens came toothsome bread enough to feed an army. 

**The silos showed that the students Avere being taught how to 
preserve feedstulls in the highest style of the modern method. 

** There was rye and rape for fall and winter pasturage. There 
were poultry yards and incubators. 

"The chemical laboratory was well supplied with aparatus and 

**The blacksmith, carriage, wagon, cabinet maker, shoe and 
machine shops were in full operation by the students and their in- 
structors ; the same is true of the foundry, draughting room, brick- 
yard, saw mill, dairy, green houses, and departments for live stock 
which was Avell supplied with liijrh prrade cattle, horses, mules and 

*'l also saw a stump -puller in operation. 

**Tho growing fruit trees were in charge of competent orchard- 
ists, assisted by the stiidents. 

** Nearly every state in the Union was represented in the student 

''A thing that showed the care Dr. Washington took to 
help the Negro help himself, was that he had provided funds to 
pay the way of farmers who would attend the conference. By 
the judicious use of this money he was able to give instructions 
to many who would not have otherwise been able to be present. 

**Tuskegee, the beautiful, Tuskegee the wonderful, a community 

life of Scott Bond 357 

complete in itself and showing a completeness that urban and sub- 
urban life is just what we make it, and we can make it what we 

*' There was country life in its highest state of development, 
and city life, the order of which would be an example for any city. 

"And wonder of wonders! conceived in the brain of one boru 
a slave ; constructed and governed by this same ex-slave, and with 
the assistance of others who like himself, had been slaves or by 
the children of this same class. Negro brains and Negro brawn 
have in Tuskegee given the evidence that he who says this race is 
not worthy of every opportunity given any other race is either ig- 
norant or malicious; and perhaps, if studied closely, would be 
found to be both." 


On another page in this book will be found a picture 
of the interior of Mr. Bond's cotton gin at Madison, Ark. 
He stated to the writer that he had spent between $25,000 and 
$30,000 for gin machinery in the last twelve years, and that the 
<!ontinental system had given him the results at which he had aimed. 
The machinery is high-class and the cost of upkeep is prac- 
tically nothing compared with the work put on it. His experience 
tells him that no other system will give anything like the sample 
And turnout of the Continental system. He has built and operated 
four of these plants: one at Edmondson, one at Cotton Plant and 
two at Madison. Besides he says that he at all times found the 
representatives of this company ready to meet him with true busi- 
ness courtesy. He says further that: **I have always found Mr. 
Dickinson, the general agent of the Continental Gin Company, to be 
agreeable and helpful and that it seems as if nature had made the 
southern Negro, the fleecy staple and the Continental Gin people 
to work together in harmony to get the best results. I have often 
had my competitors say to me, 'Uncle Scott, your son, Theophilua, 
is a fine gin man.' I would reply: 'Maybe it is the system used 
rather than the man, as we use the Continental. ' I have often won- 
dered why many people, white and colored, would pass by other 
^'ns and haul their cotton a long way to my gin, and I find it is the 

358 From Slavery to Wealth . 

results obtained by using the Continental System. I make it a rule 
every year to box my gin saws and send them to the Continental 
people at Memphis. They put them in the lathe and overhaul the 
saws so that they always give the same results as new ones. 


In making a general estimate of a erop in a given field, parts 
representing good and bad are selected, and from these a general 
average is assumed. As with this, so in other things. 

The public press holds up to the view of the world the many 
shortcomings of the Negro and but few of his virtues. Hemcey it 
becomes the duty of the Negro chronicler to do his best to call at* 
tention of the public to the character and achievements of the mea 
of his race, such as Douglass, Dunbar, Washington, Bond and a host 
of others, that when conclusions are drawn the general average 
vnll not be too low. These men, each in his particular calling, have 
accomplished much to raise the general standard of the Negro in 
America, and no fair average could be made without taking into 
consideration the successes attained by them. Their origin, the ap- 
parently insurmountable obstacles they overcame, all bear testi- 
mony to the fact ** Labor omnia vincit.*' 

The origin of an individual by no means indicates the possibili- 
ties of his life. Bom in poverty and obscurity, these men have 
simply done well the things that came up for them to do, striving, 
always striving to perform each task better than the last, with the 
result that success came from their efforts and honor crowns their 
Jives. If one will study closely the tales this book contains, he will 
find that the achievements of Scott Bond did not come from favorit- 
ism nor unusual opportunity. Every particle of gain man has made 
since Adam, either in civilization or material wealth is measured 
by the number of drops of sweat and blood that it took to produce 
it. It did not matter about the magnitude of the task, whether 
minute or vast, that came to Scott Bond, he went in with a will and 
determination to get the best results. No day was too hot, nor too 
eold for him to do his best. No night was too dark and stormy for 
him to do what he conceived to be his duty. It is related more 
than once in these pages, that in order to accomplish some undertak- 

life of Scott Bond 359 

ing he would ride or walk for miles through driving rain, in day- 
light or darkness to master the situation. If there is one thing 
more than another that has always commended Scott Bond to pub- 
lic and private admiration, it is the splendid example of a clean 
)ife. Wealth, to command or even to be respected, must be backed 
by sterling character, for without this, wealth and education will 
not long avail. Every individual of a race who raises himself 
among his fellows raises the general average of his whole people. 


'' Confidence is the basis of business success; confidence in one's 
self and confidence in one's neighbor; confidence of those with 
whom you deal that you can and will *tote' fair. I was wonder- 
fully surprised after I had entered the mercantile business to learn 
how broad the commercial world was. The basis of fairness to all 
mankind that could furnish the intellect and the ability, including: 
the financial part of it. When these things were at hand I foundl 
that it was left to the individual to succeed or ^ail. The poor- 
white man's chances and opportunity along these lines are just as 
great as the rich white man and the Negro 's chances and opportuni« 
des are the same as other men*s. The commercial world knows no 
color and has no pets. The great earth, mother of all the people, is 
acquainted with all her children ; she neither knows them by color 
nor sex. All are left to draw from her at will and the mercantile 
is but the clearing house for the different treasures gathered froia 
her bosom. In order to keep alive the mercantile business it is nec- 
essary to feed back to the soil in the same ratio that we draw, and 
to get a favorable standing in this great clearing house one must 
be ever on the alert to see that the balance sheet of one 's integrity 
does not have a deficit in one's standing in his commercial conduct. 
If those who sit on dry goods boxes and street comers and com- 
plain about their chances would get busy and try to do something 
they would soon find that legislation is not against them, but for 
them and in their favor. They would also find that there is no 
room for complaint if one would use his brains and energy. The 
seasons and climates come to all alike. There is no discrimination. 
Where one fails it is largely chargeable to himself. If the black 

S60 From Slavery to Wealth 

man bad the mental vision to perceive it he would find that his 
chances along spiritual and material lines are as great as any one's 
rise, so that in the commercial world if he will deliver the goods 
he can get the money." 


The rich alluvial lands of the St. Francis Basin, when brought 
into cultivation, could produce in foodstuff sufficient to feed the 
entire population of the United States. The climate is exceedingly 
mild. The strip of land forming this basin will average about 46 
miles and extends north and south nearly 375 miles. So mild is 
the temperature in the southern half of this basin that stock can 
get a living in the open for twelve months in the year. On the top 
^f Crowley's Ridge at the south end, vegetables may be grown in 
the open from March to December. The writer has gathered Eng- 
lish peas, snap beans, lettuce, mustard, Irish potatoes, radishes, 
beets, turnips, rape, cabbage, salsify, parsnips, carrots, parsley and 
sage from Mr. Bond's garden in the Christmas week; this, too, in 
open ground. 

The average small farmer can clear above all expenses from $500 
to $1,000 per year. More Negroes own land and automobiles in St. 
Francis County than iji any county in the United States. The 
mineral resources, coal, salt, marl and kaolin are untouched. There 
;»re still vast tracts of virgin forest awaiting the woodsman. Wheat, 
rye, oats, corn, alfalfa and cotton are at home in St. Francis Basin. 
This land will with good season and proper cultivation produce a 
bale of cotton to the acre, which at present prices of seed and cotton 
is worth $163, which gives an idea of the intrinsic value of this land. 
$163 is ten per cent of $1,630, and as the ruling rate is ten per cent 
the land is worth $1,630 per acre. Do you say this valuation is too 
high? Well, deduct $38 per acre for cost of cultivation, gathering 
and marketing and you still have $125 left, which is ten per cent 
or $1,250 per acre. But this is still in favor of the above conclusion, 
because the cost of making and gathering a bale of cotton will reach 
310 such high figure. All the crops mentioned ate equally valuable 
and besides these, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, sorghum and rib- 



:^ 1 

■ ^ 

Life of Scott Bond 361 

bon cane will produce as much. Six crops of alfalfa a year. It is 
for these reasons we want the world to know that the man who 
wants to do may, and the man who does not wants nothing. 


In 1911 I received through Mr. R. B. Jones, president of the 
Louisiana Negro Business League, an invitation to visit New 
Orleans. The League paid my expenses, as they wanted me to talk 
to the League. This trip to New Orleans was my first and it proved 
to be a great source of pleasure and information. The audience 
was large; in fact it was said that the meeting was one of the 
best that they had ever held, as they had representatives from ail 
pairs of the Pelican State. I gave them the best talk along busi- 
ness lines that I was able to give in a common, horse sense manner. 
My hearers seemed to be highly elated over my discourse. Mr. 
BoTfinson, who succeeded Mr. Jones as president of the League, 
w»is a noble gentleman and a fine specimen of our race. He was one 
of the leading contractors in New Orleans and was a large holder 
of Crescent City real estate. There was a typical southern banquet 
given in my honor at the home of a leading doctor, where every- 
thing Avas np-to-dato. I was positively sulrprised to find that I 
was knoAvn lo every Negro business man in New Orleans. I passed 
the spot where Abraham Lincoln stood watching an auctioning of 
slaves, and is said to have declared that if ever he had a chaince to 
strike slavery, he would strike it hard. The loading and unload- 
ing of A^essels at the wharf with modem machinery was a revelation 
to me. I looked at Negroes engaged in diflferent capacities around 
the landings and when I thought of the vast quantity of merchan- 
dise of one kind or another that was annually exported from New 
Orleans, and that by far the greater part of it was produced by 
Negro labor, it seemed to me that if the Negro knew his power and 
his value he would soon become a mighty factor in the commercial 
life of the south. 

362 From Slavery to Wealth 


If the Ne^o stands convicted of one thing more than another, 
it is his love of a nice, juicy chicken. However, he is not by himself 
for the chicken is found domesticated among all civilized people 
and this domestication is far from modem. I have always believed 
in living at home, and as chickens are not only a source of food for 
home consumption they also supply many needed pennies to meet 
the picayune expenses of the home in the course of the year. 

My son, Theo., found a neighbor who had a large flock of white 
brahmas with which he was quite successful; so he purchased a 
*' start" of this breed of chickens, and now our yards are well sup- 
plied with this toothsome fowl. I have found it better to have one 
good variety of chickens than half dozen mixed and inferior grades. 
Any farmer can make this industry pay, if he will devote a few of 
his spare moments to the work. 

My wife has always done her full share to make my home a real 
home. She has up to this time made my milch cows a source of 
pleasure and profit. She has also taken upon herself at all times 
the care of the poultry and the accompanying picture shows her in 
the midst of her ''Biddies.*' 


I am in no sense a large grower of sheep, yet I have tried my hand 
at it. I have always been a great lover of sheep. A few years ago 
I bought three and from them I have grown my present ilock. I 
purchased a ram at the Tri-State Pair and turned him in with my 
other sheep. The result was a raising of wool production, from two 
pounds to three and a half pounds. I paid $50 for the ram and 
thought the price exceedingly high, but the increase in wool 
product and the improvement in the size and vigor of the lambs 
the following year showed me I had made no mistake. Sheep are 
not expensive. They can survive nicely in the open nine months 
in the year. They will eat many things in the pasture that no 
other animal will eat. A lamb is at his best at six months, for he is 
worth more then than he will ever be again. Any ffln^*^- can easily 
care for a small flock of sheep. One can soon learn how profitable 

life of Scott Bond 363 

Rheep Rowing is and how little it costs to care for them. Besides 
it is a real pleasure to look at a fiock of sheep and to watch the 
lambs as they gambol in the springtime. 


Clearing land is not play. Most of the smiling fields now 
owned and cultivated by Scott Bond were wrested by him from 
vast cane brakes and trackless forests. 

Clearing land is no child's play. In addition to removing the 
timber, cutting the cane, vines and undergrowth there follows 
years of sprouting, grubbing and stump pulling, there comes in 
the lowland region, a Qpntinual battle with poisonous reptiles, 
insects and perhaps worst of all, mjriads of malaria carrying 
musquitoes. Then the occasional overflows make new ground 
cotton crops very uncertain by shortening the season, and appar- 
ently creating or at least encouraging the crop devouring cut- 

The writer has cleared thousands of acres of swamp lands, 
such as Scott Bond owns in the St. Francis Valley and knows the 
thousand and one things that must be done before the work is 

Add to the clearing, the fencing, the draining, the building of 
houses, bams and shelters of one kind or another and it will 
be found that the cost is several times the original cost of the 

It has been estimated that where a man starts, without capital, 
except his own labor and buys 40 acres of land, clears it, gets 
it paid for and properly improved his life is fully spent. It has 
on the other hand been proven that where one with small capi- 
tal and that capital be stock, tools, feed and food needed for the 
work, enters upon the same task, with courage, economy and 
perseverance will soon become independent. It was by this last 
method that Scott Bond climbed. He share-cropped and rented 
until he acquired some capital and then started his land pur- 


Life of Scott Bond 365 

chases by paying cash for the land and then with his remain- 
ing capital improving it. 

It will no doubt be interesting to one not acquainted with this 
particular line of endeavor to know something, in a general way, 
of just what is done to make a farm out of a jungle. 

Let this illustrate : Not many years ago the land lying between 
the Mississippi river and Crowley's ridge was a dense swamp, 
covered with virgin forest in which cane, briars and vines grew 
so thick as to be almost impassible. The cane grew twenty-five 
and thirty feet high, the vines grew up and festooned the for- 
est giants of oak, gum, elm and cypress, and among all this 
wild vegetable life, there thrived the bear, the panther, the wolf, 
the deer and many varieties of smaller game. Here and there 
were found deep lakes and bayous teeming with fish and differ- 
ent amphibious reptiles. It was a paradise for ducks and geese. 

As civilization pushed westward, an occasional pioneer would 
start a clearing and be later joined by another. The hardy sons 
of toil would cut and bum a place in the cane and undergrowth 
on some spot on the bank of the Mississippi or the St. Francis. 
Then they would girdle the trees by taking out a chip all round 
the trees about three feet from the ground. Then wherever 
possible, com, garden seed and cotton would be planted and cul- 
tivated for the first year. The second year the same land would 
be cultivated again and the clearing extended as before. The 
tent or bark house would give way to a substantial log cabin 
with a chimney built with sticks and mud. 

At this stage the pioneer farmer's work had just begun. The 
coons and bears would attack his corn, the birds and squirrels 
would assist their comrades in foraging on the growing grain. 

All this was but the beginning. The second year, the limbs 
from the deadened trees would begin to fall on the farmer's 
crop. The third year the deadened trunks of the forest giants 
would begin to fall and then for three or four years there would 
be an annual cutting, piling and burning of logs until at last 
the clearing became an open farm. 

It is thus, step by step, Scott Bond carved his way as told in 
this book and this description is given, that the reader may have 

366 From Slavery to Wealth 

some idea of the gigantic task he set for himself and how well 
he accomplished it. 

It would be hard to determine the value of timber that has 
been destroyed, absolutely wasted in the Delta country between 
Crowleys ridge in Arkansas and the hills in Mississippi. Near- 
ly all this vast stretch of lowland was shaded by a magnificent 
growth of valuable timber, such as oak, ash, popular, maple, 
tupelo, hickory, cypres, cotton wood, hackberry, walnut per- 
simmon, elm and gum. 

For many years the saw mills that began to utilize these for- 
ests would not use the gum, tupelo, elm, cotton wood and hack- 
berry. In fact only the very best logs from the other varieties 
were used. 

Before the coming of the saw mills, all kinds of timber would 
be deadened and left to rot and fall. If all the timber that was 
destroyed in that period was standing today, its value would be 
greater than the land upon which it grew. 

Now the cut-over lands of the St. Francis basin are selling for 
all the way from $25 to $40 per acre. 

Great dredges are at work cutting canals all the way from 
twenty feet wide and ten feet deep to fifty feet wide and fifteen 
feet deep, to drain the swamps into the St. Francis and Mis- 
sissippi rivers. When this system of drainage is completed and 
the land is underdrained with tile, every acre of it will be worth 
from $225 to $250 per acre. 



With the incidents of these pages clearly before us, it is not 
difficult to see what will be the condition of the under race, one 
hundred years hence, Should the young of our people improve 
the opportunities that are theirs, and make use of the things that 
come to hand for the weal of our common country. 

The development of a people must come from within. They 
must either advance or go backward. That the Negro race will 
not retrograde, is certain from the evidence given by his progress 
in the first half century of his citizenship. 

That the elements that go to make any pec^le great, has be- 
come a real, living entity in the Negro's heart, is proven by the 
success attained by hundreds of the race in every walk of life 
in which the energy of man avails to conquer. 

To close one's eyes to the things that are not agreeable is, but 
like the ostrich to bury one's head in the sand. 

Look up. Look into the future. See the twin stars of hope 
and promise ever beckoning us, leading us upward and onward 
in the march of civilization. To what heights they will lead us 
depends entirely upon ourselves. 

(a) What does the Negro think of the conditions under which 
he lives, moves and has his being? 

(b) How does he compare with the Negro of the last quarter 
of the 19th century? 

(c) How do these things affect him in his thoughts of the fu- 

(a) In answer to the first question : He knows the laws of the 
land guarantee to him the right to life, liberty and the pursuit 
of happiness. He knows that the laws of many states, made 
and provided, in devious ways, contradict the spirit of the Con- 
stitution of the United States. He knows that in courts of just- 


368 From Slavery to Wealth 

ice, he does not get fair play, neither as a witness nor as an at- 
torney practicing at the bar, because he must submit to being 
addressed as "nigger" and other equally pleasant names, by 
small minded practitioners of other races and that any attempt 
to have this evil corrected, would bring down upon his devoted 
head, the wrath of opposing counsel, should that counsel be of 
the stronger race. He knows that the laws of the 
states guarantee him equal accommodations on the rail- 
roads and other public carriers. He also knows that these laws 
are not enforced. He knows that the public school laws provide 
the same educational facilities for his children as are provided 
for the children of other races. He knows too that these same 
laws are all too often ignored and that as mentioned elsewhere 
in these pages amount almost to a dead letter where the educa- 
tion of the Negro child is concerned. He knows that every 
child of every citizen of this great democracy has a right to 
aspire to every position that is open to the child of any other 
American citizen and he knows that aspiration is crushed be- 
neath a wall of prejudice that he cannot scale; certainly not at 
present. Hence he thinks he is not being fairly dealt with. He 
also thinks that if like Scott Bond, he can show a clean character 
and a good bank account, backed by large holdings of real prop- 
erty he may then look forward to those things guaranteed by the 
laws of his country. It is in this spirit this book is written. 
Let us look conditions full in the face, accept them as they are 
and strive with might and main to better them. 

(b) How does he compare with the Negro of the last quarter 
of the 19th century? 

In the last two and a half decades of the last century, the 
American Negro was trying to get his bearings. He had just 
emerged from the cloud of slavery that had enveloped him for 
250 years. He was like a bird just out of a cage. Such lead- 
ership as he had was carefully feeling the way. Many of his 
leaders were of the idealistic school, having been thrown into 
the spotlight, by the catapult of circumstances, they were not 
sure of their ground. Over zealous friends had crowded them too 









Life of Scott Bond 369 

fast and reaction had set in. Yet the progress made was mar- 
velous along the lines of wealth and general education. In that 
period two schools of thought had the race divided; one led by 
DuBois was clamoring for classical education of the race. The 
other, led by Booker T. Washington insisted upon industrial 
training as a prerequisite to higher things. Neither was well 
understood by the masses yet both were in a measure right. 

DuBois was like the great Douglass an idealist. Washington 
was intensely practical. 

An illustration might not be amiss. Douglass, when speaking 
of the United States, said, '^separate as the billows, one as the 

Every one had not seen the sea and could not comprehend the 
majestic figure of Fred Douglass' idealism. 

Booker T. Washington, when speaking at the Atlanta Cotton 
Exposition, of the black and white races in America said : For 
all things social they are separate as the fingers; in all things 
for the moral and economic development of the southland, the 
races are one as the hand." 

Every one had seen the hand and understood at once the 
practical application. 

From that day all eyes were turned to Booker T. Washington 
as the Moses who would lead the Negro to the promised land, 
where he would enjoy the fullness of American manhood rights 
and bask in the sunlight of democracy's perfect day. Be it said 
to the credit of Booker T. Washington, that so intensely practi- 
cal was he and so much in earnest, that he revolutionized the 
educational methods of the world. Besides, with his National 
Negro Business League idea, he started the Negro up the ladder 
that has led him to industrial and commercial fame. So that to 
compare him with then and now, the race has grown in wealth 
from $200,000,000 to away beyond $1,000,000,000, owning lands 
and houses, urban and suburban, factories, mills, gins, banks, 
mercantile establishments, great newspapers and printing of- 
fices, drug stores, oil mills, oil wells, coal mines, telephone ex- 
changes, cities and towns. He has his own physicians and phar- 
macists, D. D.'s and LL. B.'s, in fact everything that other peo- 

370 From Slavery to Wealth 

pie have, finds representation among Ne^rroes. They have a 
civilization within a civilization. The comparison is : He started 
with nothing and has made good. 

(c) How do these things affect him in his thoughts of the 

The great strides made by the Negro in these first fifty years, 
has opened his eyes to the possibilities of advancement and con- 
vinced him that merit can and will compel its reward. It may 
appear lardy, but its arrival is certain. They have quickened 
his pace and lifted his eyes above the petty annoyances that 
used to fret him. They have taught him self-reliance and a 
desire for team work. They have taught him thrift. They have 
given lessons in integrity and high moral purpose. They have 
prepared him for the struggle in the climb up the rugged moun- 
tain of excellence, and make him think that in the not distant 
future, he will take his place among his fellow citizens as a man 
wherever manhood and sterling qualities count, and that he has 
a message for the world i. e., "If a man will he may.** 

We will ask the reader to turn back to page 29 and read the 
trenchant paragraphs of Scott Bond's philosophy. 

Enthusiasm, eager arid earnest is the crying need in rural 
districts today. It would bring undreamed of progress, if the 
young men and women of the race would use for self-develop- 
ment, the time they spend in idle gossip and some other less re- 
spectable things. 

It is a trite saying that "the young of today is the adult of 
tomorrow." It is by no means desirable nor beneficial to forgo 
all innocent amusements. What is suggested is, a systematic 
effort for self improvement; a determination to do something- 
worth while; to be somebody in the community in which one 

When the states, led by the National Government, was making 
an enthusiastic and determined effort to increase food and feed 
production in the south, a visit was paid to our town by promi- 
nent speakers. Scott Bond was called on by these gentlemen 
to get into the speakers automobile and express his views and 
thereby encourage the farmers of St. Francis County ( a vast 

life of Scott Bond 371 

majority of whom are Negroes) to do their bit to prepare for the 
World War, that had at last drawn this country into the mael- 

Mr. Bond accepted the invitation and climbed into the auto. 
He spoke of the opportunity offered to encourage diversification 
and showed that the program outlined by preceding speakers was 
not only good for war times, but would work equally well in times 
of peace ; and showed that it was by this method that he had built 
up his own enterprises. 

He then, as he always does when talking in public, had a little 
heart to heart talk with his own people. He told them among 
other things that greater than the conservation of food and feed 
is the conservation of character, and greater than all these is 
the protection of the home. 

He said: "In Europe they have kings and queens. In this 
country all the women are queens and all the men are kings; 
each equal to the other in the eyes of the law, having a right to 
use that invincible sword of democracy, the ballot. The man 
who will not protect his queen and his ballot with even his life 
if necessary, is unworthy the matchless blessing of American 
citizenship. In short, protect your women and your homes with 
the ballot, yes, even with your life. 

Educate your children. Educate heart, hand and mind. 
Take your place in the ranks of men who do the world's work." 



The repressive race prejudice exhibited in the United States 
is an economic loss. Figures that would state the loss in dol- 
lars, from this cause would far exceed in amount, the billions 
this country has poured into the mighty stream of money needed 
to win the world war. 

We ask you to read the second paragraph on page 18 of this 
biography. Then with that paragraph in mind, follow us to our 
conclusion; remembering the while, that these are cold facts 
that arise from no sentiment, other than the material and intel- 
lectual loss the nation has sustained, and that will continue to 
grow, on the wrong side of this country's economic ledger, as 
long as these unfair civic conditions prevail. Because of his 
poverty the Negro could not be other than a laborer in the first 
years of his freedom. He would long since have been of 
far more service to his country, had there not been a wall of 
prejudice built across his pathway by his white brother worker 
in the fields of skilled labor. There seemed to be a determina- 
tion to keep the Negro laborer a hewer of wood and drawer of 
water. Here and there, by some fortuitous circumstance, one of 
the race would find a position in some machine shop, foundry 
or other place where skilled labor found employment; these 
isolated instances being rifts in the cloud. 

Labor unions were formed and one of the basic principles 
upon which they acted, seemed to be, "no nigger need apply." 
This was repression with a vengeance. 

On the farms where the larger numbers of the race found e)n- 
ployment, there was no attempt made to teach the Negro worker 
the reason why a thing should be done a certain way. He was 


Life of Scott Bond 373 

simply told to do this or that without being taught the reason 

He was not trusted to do a piece of work and given to under- 
stand, that his reward would be measured by the amount and 
excellence of his work. 

He was left in charge of an "agent" who was in all too many 
cases prejudiced against him; with the result that he learned 
little under this kind of a task master. He labored under the 
baleful crop mortgage system that took from him his self-re- 
liance and made him a dependant indeed. On top of all this was 
opened a way to the unscrupulous, whenever it was so desired, 
to short change the renter or cropper in the annual settlement. 

Jim Crow and other segregation laws were put upon the 
statue books which seemed to the Negro to tell him at every turn 
that he was hardly human. He was excluded from the public 
parks and breathing place in urban communities, frequently 
facing at the entrance to these places, signs reading, "Negroes 
and dogs not admitted." 

If he visited churches of his choice denomination. Christian (?) 
churches, of the dominant race, he was tolerated but told to 
stay "way back and sit down" or was relegated to the gallery. 

The Negro's child-like mind told him that what caused all this 
was the spirit of prejudice. 

For years, all this had the Negro at a stand-still. He was 
wondering if after all democracy and Christianity really meant 
what their definitions indicate. 

This was not all, these things caused the country an enormous 
loss in efficiency. It has been estimated that the loss to progress 
thus caused averaged not less than $100 per capita per annum of 
the total Negro population, financially and an equal amount in 
the morale of that part of the citizenship of the United States. 

As costly as all this has been, it has given the Negro a chance 
to get hold of himself, and after all, has been a blessing in dis- 
guise. By compelling him to flock by himself, it has taught him 
to take an introspective view of himself, to see that to whatever 
heights he may aspire, the force to get him there must come 
from within. 

374 From Slavery to Wealth 


Read the last paragraph on page 70. 

But little notice is given to one phase of the. Negro's progress. 
It is common to hear people, who travel over the country on the 
railroad trains, say they are well informed about the Negro and 
the things he is doing. 

The truth is, the usual traveler, draws his conclusions from 
wrong premises. He sees the usual idlers at the railroad sta- 
tions he may pass or porters, waiters and servants in the towns 
where he may sojourn for a few days. If he is so disposed, he 
studies his group as typical of the whole race and concludes, 
that as they are so are the other Negroes. 

Nothing could be farther from the truth. The station idlers, 
hotel waiters and car porters, no more represent the Negro than 
the whites of these same labor groups of white people, represent 
the best there is in the all-conquering, dominant race in this 

To localize: The community where this book is published is 
composed of both races, about three Negroes to one white. Both 
races are in the main hard-working and industrious. Yet in 
this place as in most others there are idlers who loaf about the 
town and the railway station. They are not representatives of 
the best in either race. 

Those who count for anything are engaged in the various 
manufacturing and mercantile concerns that thrive here, or they 
are on the farms near and remote. Here as elsewhere, by far 
the most progressive part of the race is making good in the 
agricultural pursuits. There are places where one can walk 
for miles and miles on joining farms owned and operated by 
Negroes. The only way one can make a reasonably fair estimate 
of the progress of the race in rural communities, is to study this 
group for it is among them that will be found the thrifty far- 
seeing men of the race, who look into the future and see that one 
who rules the land will be the one who owns it. This class of 
men has bought thousands of acres of land in this county in 
the last two years. The white people, know from experience. 

Life of Scott Bond 375 

that the more they do to make the Negro a land owner, the more 
will be the rate of increase in wealth to all. The man who buys 
land gives a bond to society for his good behavior. 

The quiet thrifty Negro farmer, is laying the foundation of an 
economic structure, that will be the best fortification in the com- 
mercial and industrial battles of the future. He now owns more 
than $500,000,000 worth of farm property in the United States 
and is increasing this at a rate of 10 per cent in each decade. 

If that part of the race that is now entering the other fields 
of industry, heretofore closed to him, will but make efficiency, 
continuity and thrift his watchwords thus keeping pace with 
the farmer, the whole of America's colored citizenship will be 
able in a few years to demand rather than plead for a place in 
the sun. 


Little more than fifty years ago the Negro was a slave. Now 
he is a citizen, counting his wealth in millions and has repre- 
sentatives in the >Alumni of the best colleges and unversities of 
the world. 

Fifty years ago people of the United States did not agree that 
Ldncoln was worthy the highest niche in the temple of fame: 
Today in the south and the north in the east and in the west, 
Washington, Lincoln and Wilson are honored alike in the pic- 
tured representations of the nation's greatest presidents. 

Fifty years hence there will be an equal change of sentiment 
toward the Negro. It will hardly be conceivable that present 
conditions ever existed. He can well afford "to labor and the 
wait." His reward is as certain as the flight of time: 

As noted in the opening chapter of this book, tremendous 
changes have come in lAmerica, since the birth of Scott Bond^ 
in 1853, and all these changes have in some way affected the 
Negro. He has come out of each of them, violent though they 
may have been, better off than before. 

This book would not serve its purpose, did it not call attention 

376 From Slavery to Wealth 

to the steady improvement in the condition of the Negrro as rep- 
resented by the achievements of Scott Bond. 

The Negro was the bone of contention in the Civil War. Yet 
he proved faithful in the care and protection of southern white 
women and children on the one hand and did valiant service as 
a soldier of the union on the other. He won the plaudits of the 
men who wore the blue and the undying praise and gratitude of 
the men who wore the gray. 

Out of that struggle came emancipation, which like anything 
else new, was not understood by either the master or his former 
slave. It took time for both to adjust themselves to the new 

Thoughtful men were watching, to see what the emancipated 
race would do with its new found freedom. 

Some suggested that they be left to care for themselves. 
Others thought the ballot should be placed in the hands of the 
Negro as his surest means of protection. The idea of enfran- 
chisement prevailed. The friends of the Negro did not take 
into consideration the fact that the ex-slave was not fully pre- 
pared for that advanced step. They expected too much in so 
short a time. Hence it was soon found that the ballot in the 
hands of the ignorant, was not a panacea for the ills that beset 
the country in the years of reconstruction. 

Then followed a period, in which by violence as well as legal 
subterfuge, the ballot was literally taken from the Negro in a 
large part of the country. It is to the credit of the Negro that 
in the few years he had the opportunity, he gave to the service 
of the nation and of the several states, many men who in point 
of ability and integrity were prophetic of the future. 

Disfranchisement rolled a cloud, black and portentious, across 
the roseate dream of the Negro. So dangerous did it appear, 
that it looked for a while as if all the fruits of the awful strug- 
gles of the Civil War were to be swept away. 

From this travail a new star of hope was bom, twinkling and 
dim at first, it grew brighter and brighter as time sped by. A 
new era dawned for the Negro. Men like Booker T. Washing- 
ton, seeing the demand for efficiency in doing the world's work, 







Life of Scott Bond 377 

began the effort that should have been started with Lincoln's 
Emancipation Proclamation. .Men like Scott Bond, knowing 
that to erect a building, a foundation must be laid, and if the 
structure is to endure the foundation must be on solid rock ; be- 
gan by precept and example to teach the race to educate the hand 
as well as heart and the mind. This school of men taught that 
efficiency and thrift would be the proper foundation upon which 
to build ; that the ownership of some of this world's goods would 
go a long way towards removing the stumbling blocks from the 
pathway up. So insistent and persistent was this school of men 
that today, efficiency, character and wealth is dispelling the 
cloud of dispair and doubt that hung so low, only a few years 
ago. The Negro is coming into his own. 

The question arises : Has he kept pace with the growth of in- 
telligence, with the material and spiritual advancement of other 
groups that make up American citizenship? 

We will see. 

In electricity, great strides were made, appliances that annihi- 
lated distance and used the subtile fluid for communication be- 
tween distant points, and harnessed this same mysterious force 
to the wheels of manufacture and transportation. Not to be 
outdone, the Negro, Granville T. Woods, of Cincinnati, in the 
early 80's invented a system by which he could sit in the moving 
trains of the Pennsylvania railroad, and without visible con- 
nection hurl his thoughts through the impalpable ether to wires 
strung along the tracks of that great system of roads and by the 
same method receive dispatches from distant pK)ints — wireless 

In mechanics, Hancock, with his inspirator, McCoy with his 
lubricator and a host of other, divided honors with their brothers 
of the fairer skin in the most wonderful age of mechanical 
development the world has ever known. 

In art, the form, perspective and color-blending of Tanner is 
considered an honor upon the walls of any salon in Europe. 

In letters, Scarborough's Greek text book was long ago 
adopted by Harvard. 


From Slavery to Wealth 

In literature, the songs of Dunbar have wrung tears and 
laughter from the people of two continents. Oh ! the shame of 
it! All this while the race to which these men belonged, was beinif 
held back by the repressive attitude exhibited by too many of 
their fellow citizens. 

The higher spiritual advance of the Kesn^, up to this time is 
one of the most remarkable things in his history. He is num- 
bered by millions in the several Christian denominations and 
counts his missionaries to foreign countries by hundreds. He 
has kept pace with the growth of civilization, and it may be that 
the present world war will produce the heat that will fuse the 
■people of this countrj- into a common agreement, that the law 
shall protect those who protect the flag of our country. 


iRacial movements all have basic causes. 

The present exodus of Southern Negroes to the nortli has 
causes based in many things ; among them perhaps the greatest 
of all is the repressive attitude assumed in almost all parts of 
the south toward him. By this we do not mean segregation in 
the cars, the schools, the hotels, and places of public amusement. 
So far as the Negro is concerned he had rather have it this way 
if he got what the law plainly says he must have, "equal accom- 
modations." It is the repressive spirit behind these things that 
makes for discontent. 

There are few places on the railroads, except in the larger 
cities of the south, where the Negro passenger can get a lunch 
without having to accept an offence with it. 

The impotency of the law to protect him, the injustice he 
meets in many places, in settlements for his toil or his crops, the 
limited opportunity he has in numerous parts of the country, for 
the full and free exercise of the franchise, the storm that would 
gather about him should he ask the suffrage of his neighbors 
for public office, have their repressive influence upon the Negro 
and serve as a cause for unrest. 

The Negro is no more a saint than his white neighbor ; nor is 
he more of a devil than his white neighbor has taught him to be. 

It is not the purpose here to urge the Negro to strive for pub- 
lic office nor to put up a whine or an excuse. What is desired is 
to find a way to better conditions and make the future safe, 
prosperous and happy for all the people. 

To be hurt by the point of a pin is trifling in itself, yet if this 
Blight irritation be continuous it would become unbearable. 

To hear some opprobrious epithet applied, such as ''nigger" or 
''negress/' and that with malice thoughtless or aforethought 



From Slavery to Wealth 





* . 







Vt V. 

is never pleasant ; but when this is a continual thing, it is to say 
the least annoying and offensive so much so that the worm 
turns at last as in the Houston, incident. Had the police officers 
in that town been prudent men, the Negro soldiers would not 
have been driven in maddened frenzy to violate the law. 

To be defeated for public office is trifling in itself, yet when 
one knowing he is a citizen and has a right to aspire to these 
things sees a wall of repression rising higher and higher before 
him and this in the face of the law made and provided for all 
alike, sees the aspiration for these things crushed in embryo and 
the door of hope forever closed in his face, he is not likely to be 
a contented laborer in such circumstances. 

The states have upon their statute books, laws providing for 
the education of the young in public schools. In most states the 
law directs a per capita expenditure of funds collected for the 
public schools without discrimination as to race, creed or color, 
except that there shall be separate schools for blacks and whites. 
This is excellent. But when the Negro finds that there is from 
$12.50 to $15.00 per capita expended on the education of the 
white child and only $2.00 to $2.50 per capita in the provision 
for the education of the Negro child, he can only make these 
balance with the difference. Hence when he hears of another 
part of the country, where the enforcement of the school law, 
gives his child an equal chance for education with that of the 
white child, he becomes restless and eventually moves into that 
part of the country where his child will get the benefit of public 
school education. 

No state in the Union has better school laws than Arkansas, 
and were they enforced in spirit it would be an example to less 
progressive states. 

The proof that the Negro is doing well, in nearly all parts of 
this great state, is that so many are coming into this state to bet- 
ter their condition. 

The days grow brighter as the years go by. The Negro is 
being advised to pay his poll taxes, to register and to vote in 
school and municipal elections. We are happy to know that 

Life of Scott Bond 381 

this advice and these coachings come from men of the highest 
standing in the dominant race. 

You have read the story of Scott Bond. We have tried to give 
it as nearly as possible in his own words, using quotation some 
times, and at other times, letting him speak directly in the first 

This story is prophetic of the future. The millions of Negroes 
who have lived and died in America, the millions who live in 
the great republic and the countless millions who will be here 
in the ages to come are a part of the great procession of humani- 
ty that is passing through the melting pot of evolution must 
reach at last the higher, brighter light of the perfect day. 

Oh, Southland, the land of Dixie, the land of the moss, the 
cypress and the pine, the land of flowers and of sunshine, the 
land of the mocking bird, the land of corn and cotton, the Negro 
loves thee. 

By the sufferings, the tears and the prayers of his foreparents 
in the 250 years of his apprenticeship in Columbia, he has 
earned the right to full citizenship. 

Why repeat here tales of faithfulness to his master in the 
years before the Civil War, the honor with which he acquitted 
himself of caring for the families of the soliders in gray while 
they were fighting to hold him a slave and seal forever the doom 
of freedom and democracy, with the warm red blood of the 
south's bravest and best sons? 

What need of retelling the story of pushing back the forests 
to make place for smiling fields of grain and cotton, building 
cities and then building roads of steel to connect these cities and 
bear to them aiid to the outside world the products of mine, field 
and forest? 

All these things the Negro has done and will continue to do. 
Why tell of the Negro's valor upon land and sea in the nation's 
battles for birth, for existence and for honor? These things 
are written so high upon the firmament of glory that angry 
worlds of prejudice can not eclipse the light of true history that 
shines now and will shine forever. 

The Negro's salvation is in his own hands.